Generalists or Specialists? Women, Older Students and Married Students Choose to be Generalists

Study of general versus subspecialty career paths in internal medicine
    • July 1, 2002

Through a literature review and a survey of third-year medical residents conducted in 1994, the Oregon Health Sciences Foundation examined the factors that influence the choice of generalist versus subspecialty careers in internal medicine.

The project was part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) national program, Generalist Provider Research Initiative.

Key Findings

  • Oregon Health Sciences University presented the following key findings in a series of reports:

    • Women, and older and married students were more likely to become generalists.
    • Shorter training time was often cited as an important factor for becoming a generalist, especially by women.
    • Professional issues such as the chance to provide more direct patient care and develop closer patient relationships were also identified as significant by those choosing a generalist career.