JM Fisher, K Hunt, MJ Garside
Journal Issue: 
Volume 44: Issue 2: 2014



Background: To meet the needs of the ageing population, more geriatric medicine doctors are required. We aimed to determine: (i) career preferences of junior doctors with an interest in geriatric medicine, (ii) factors influencing the likelihood of junior doctors undertaking a career in geriatric medicine and (iii) whether a geriatric medicine conference for junior doctors influenced their views on the specialty and their likelihood of choosing it as a career option.
Methods: All delegates who registered to attend the ‘Geriatrics for Juniors’ conference (G4J) were invited to complete both a pre- and post-conference survey online. Delegates’ free-text responses were subjected to thematic analysis. Differences between paired ordinal data from pre- and post-conference surveys were determined using the Wilcoxon signed rank test.
Results: A total of 108 delegates attended G4J. Pre- and post-conference survey response rates were 67% and 51% respectively. Commonly reported deterrents to a career in geriatric medicine included ‘being the medical registrar’ (27.1% of respondents) and ‘second-class specialty’ (20.6%). There was a statistically significant difference between pre- and post-conference responses, with a tendency towards less agreement with the statement ‘the prospect of being the medical registrar puts me off applying for higher specialty training in geriatric medicine’ (Z=-2.512; p=0.012).
Conclusions: The perceived unattractive nature of the medical registrar role may deter some junior doctors from a career in geriatric medicine. A lack of clarity regarding the nature of the specialty still exists. Targeted educational interventions, such as G4J, may positively influence junior doctors’ perceptions of the specialty and the role of the medical registrar.