Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
How can we improve retention of doctors.pdf (170.82 kB)

How can we improve retention of doctors

Download (170.82 kB)
journal contribution
posted on 2023-03-31, 16:12 authored by Aine Fox, A Smith, C Murphy, N Bussman, Naomi McCallionNaomi McCallion


Recruitment of trained doctors is challenging, particularly in certain high intensity specialities. This has come to the fore in recent years in the aftermath of the Covid 19 pandemic. The recent balloting of NCHDs for industrial action has highlighted the dissatisfaction among doctors. Understanding what is important to medical students could help us create work environments and conditions that match their expectations. This study aims to describe the factors that are important to medical students when considering their career and speciality choice.


This was a prospective, observational study. An anonymous, qualitative, multiple-choice survey was completed by medical students.


One hundred and forty-nine medical students completed this survey. Half of students reported having selected a specific speciality to pursue. ‘Interest in the medical speciality’ was listed as the most influential factor. One hundred and two students (68%) rated ‘lifestyle/working patterns’ and 109 (73%) students rated a ‘positive experience of a clinical post’ as other highly influential factors.


Medical students think carefully about their career choice. Their choice is influenced by an interest in a speciality coupled with a positive working environment with increasing emphasis on work life balance. Policy makers need to consider these factors to improve doctor retention.



The original article is available at

Published Citation

Fox A, Smith A, Murphy C, Bussmann N, McCallion N. How can we improve retention of doctors. Ir Med J. 2023;116(3):741

Publication Date

23 March 2023

PubMed ID



  • Paediatrics


Irish Medical Association


  • Published Version (Version of Record)