Medical students’ perception of general practice: a cross-sectional survey

D. H.J. Pols*, A. Kamps, J. Runhaar, G. Elshout, K. F. van Halewijn, Patrick J.E. Bindels, K. M. Stegers–Jager

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
18 Downloads (Pure)


Background: An increase in the demand for general practitioners is expected in many countries, but only a minority of medical students consider a career in general practice. More detailed and up-to-date knowledge about medical student’s perception of general practice would be helpful for efforts to encourage medical students to consider a career in general practice. Methods: We performed a cross-sectional single center survey among Dutch medical students to evaluate their perception of general practice at three different stages in their study: Ba1: first-year bachelor students; Ba3: third-year bachelor students; Ma3: third-year master students. The impact of different factors on their attitudes and perceptions was quantified. A multivariate logistic regression was performed with ‘interest in general practice’ as the outcome variable. Results: The median age for Ba1 was 18 (IQR: 18–19) and 71.5% were female, for Ba3 the median age was 20 (IQR: 20–21) and 70.6% were female and for Ma3 the median age was 25 years (IQR: 24–26) and 73.3% were female. On average, 31.2% of the respondents had a migration background. The mean response rate for this study was 77.1%. Of the participating Ba1 students (n = 340) only 22.4% considered working as a GP after medical school; for Ba3 students (n = 231) this percentage was 33.8%, and for Ma3 students (n = 210) it was significantly higher at 70.5%; in the final multivariate model this corresponded to an odds ratio (OR) of 4.3 (95%-CI:2.6–6.9) compared to Ba1 students. The strongest predictor in the final model was the opinion that general practice provides a pleasant working environment (OR 9.5; 95%-CI: 6.2–14.5). Conclusion: This study showed that multiple factors are significantly related to medical students’ interest in general practice. Although students believed that general practice does not have a high status within the medical profession, they acknowledged the social importance and the pleasant working environment of general practice. Knowledge obtained in this study can be used when designing a medical curriculum or a general practice course.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103
JournalBMC Medical Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 9 Feb 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Work by the first author was partially supported by a fellowship of The Community for Learning & Innovation of the Erasmus University Rotterdam.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, The Author(s).


Dive into the research topics of 'Medical students’ perception of general practice: a cross-sectional survey'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this