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Factors associated with the specialty choice of Korean medical students: a cross-sectional survey

Overview of attention for article published in Human Resources for Health, July 2016
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Factors associated with the specialty choice of Korean medical students: a cross-sectional survey
Published in
Human Resources for Health, July 2016
DOI 10.1186/s12960-016-0141-8
Pubmed ID

Yeon-Yong Kim, Un-Na Kim, Yon Su Kim, Jin-Seok Lee


An imbalance of physician supply by medical specialty has been observed in most countries. In Korea, there is a greater tendency to avoid surgical specialties and specialty choices in nonclinical medicine, such as the basic science of medicine. In this study, we identified factors affecting the specialty choice of physicians in order to provide a basis for policies to address this problem. We used the results of a 2013 nationwide survey of 12 709 medical students (82.7 % responded) to analyze the data of 9499 students after excluding missing data. Descriptive analyses of all students' specialty choice were performed. Logistic regression was performed by selecting gender, age, grade level, type of medical school, hometown, and the location of the medical school as the independent variables. Medical specialty was the dependent variable. The dependent variable, or specialty of medicine, was categorized into three groups: nonclinical/clinical medicine, surgical-medical specialty, and controllable lifestyle specialty. The order of preferred medical specialties was internal medicine, psychiatry, and pediatrics; for surgical specialties, the order was orthopedic surgery, general surgery, and ophthalmology. Medical specialties were most favored by women and students in the third (men) and second (women) year of the medical program, whereas surgical specialties were most preferred by men and students in the first year of the program. Students in the third year mostly favored nonclinical medicine. Medical college students had a stronger preference for nonclinical medicine (odds ratio [OR] 1.625, 95 % confidence interval [CI] 1.139-2.318) than graduate medical school students. Surgical specialties were more favored by men (OR 2.537, 95 % CI 2.296-2.804) than by women. However, they were favored less by medical college students (OR 0.885, 95 % CI 0.790-0.991) than by graduate medical school students and by medical students in metropolitan areas (OR 0.892, 95 % CI 0.806-0.988) than by medical students in nonmetropolitan areas. A controllable lifestyle specialty was less favored by men (OR 0.802, 95 % CI 0.730-0.881) than by women. Based on these results, we can evaluate the effectiveness of the government's educational policies for solving the imbalance of physician supply and provide empirical evidence to understand and solve this problem.

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Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 32 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
United States 1 3%
Unknown 31 97%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Ph. D. Student 5 16%
Student > Bachelor 5 16%
Student > Doctoral Student 4 13%
Researcher 4 13%
Librarian 3 9%
Other 8 25%
Unknown 3 9%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Medicine and Dentistry 18 56%
Social Sciences 2 6%
Psychology 2 6%
Nursing and Health Professions 1 3%
Agricultural and Biological Sciences 1 3%
Other 3 9%
Unknown 5 16%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 2. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 22 July 2016.
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Outputs from Human Resources for Health
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Outputs of similar age
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Outputs of similar age from Human Resources for Health
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Altmetric has tracked 8,091,619 research outputs across all sources so far. This one has received more attention than most of these and is in the 50th percentile.
So far Altmetric has tracked 532 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a little more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 7.4. This one is in the 10th percentile – i.e., 10% of its peers scored the same or lower than it.
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We're also able to compare this research output to 31 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one is in the 1st percentile – i.e., 1% of its contemporaries scored the same or lower than it.