The Great Gamble? A Mixed-Methods Study of Factors Influencing Medical Students in Specialty Choice

Background Career planning remains relatively unexplored as a domain of medical education. Our aim was to explore the career planning journey undertaken by medical students.

Methods Mixed-methods data collection was employed. An online questionnaire was distributed to interns (Foundation Year 1 (FY1) equivalents) across Ireland. A focus group was held to further explore themes. Quantitative and qualitative data analysis was applied to findings.

Medical humanities: some uses and problems

The arts and humanities were allowed into the British medical curriculum in 1993 when the General Medical Council re-structured it in a paper entitled ‘Tomorrow’s Doctors’. Since then many medical schools have developed humanities modules and the broad term ‘medical humanities’ refers to these. They can contribute to medical education in at least three ways: as a supplement to what is already in the curriculum, especially for ethics and communication; as an outside critique of medical practice; and to personal and professional development.

Mentoring for new consultants

There is increasing evidence of the benefits of having a mentor during the early years as a consultant. Mentoring encourages and provides support to an individual in their professional development. Although there are different forms of mentoring there is recognition that developing a formal mentoring scheme can provide a consistent approach and support within a framework. The Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh has introduced a mentoring scheme for new consultants that provides a forum for supporting them in their ongoing professional wellbeing.