Ratings of specialties' lifestyles by fourth-year us medical students with a military service obligation

Kent J. Dezee, Lynn A. Byars, Charles D. Magee, Gretchen Rickards, Steven J. Durning, Douglas Maurer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Lifestyle factors influence medical specialty choice, but which specialties are perceived to have the best lifestyles is poorly described in scientific literature. The objective of the study was to determine the rating of specialties by lifestyle. METHODS: All fourth-year US medical students with a Department of Defense service obligation who participated in the 2008/2009 military Match were invited to participate in a survey following the Match. The survey listed 18 specialties and asked students to rate the lifestyle of each one on a 9-point scale, and the mean score was used as the rating. Students also listed their specialty choice in the Match. RESULTS: The response rate was 52%, as 418 of the 797 eligible students responded and provided a rating for at least nine of the 18 specialties. The four specialties rated highest for lifestyle (1-9, with 9 being highest) were dermatology (8.4), radiology (8.1), ophthalmology (8.0), and anesthesia (7.5). The four specialties rated lowest were orthopedics (4.0), neurosurgery (3.1), general surgery (2.6), and obstetrics-gynecology (2.5). Family medicine (5.7) was the top-rated primary care specialty, followed by pediatrics (5.3) and internal medicine (4.7). Students rated the lifestyle of their own specialty only slightly higher (range 0.02 to 1.8) than all other students. CONCLUSIONS: The R.O.A.D. specialties (radiology, ophthalmology, anesthesia, and dermatology) are the top specialties with respect to lifestyle as viewed by current students. Students perceive their own specialty's lifestyle realistically. Research determining why a specialty perceived as having a lower-rated lifestyle is acceptable to some students and not others is needed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)240-246
Number of pages7
JournalFamily Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2013
Externally publishedYes


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