How do the specialty choices and rural intentions of medical students from Bond University (a full-fee paying, undergraduate-level medical program) compare with other (Commonwealth Supported Places) Australian medical students?
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Australian medical schools are demonstrating an increased interest in full-fee paying education, which warrants assessment of possible ramifications on the profile of the Australian medical workforce. This study aims to identify differences in demographics, specialty preferences and rural intentions between domestic full-fee paying undergraduate medical students and all other (CSP) Australian medical students. Methods: The data of 19,827 medical students was accessed from the Medical Schools Outcomes Database from 2004-2011. This was then analysed using logistic regression and McNemar’s test to identify differences in specialty choice and preferred location of practice. Results: Demographically, full-fee paying medical students of Bond University and other Australian medical students were similar in age and gender. However, Bond medical students were less likely to come from a rural background (10% versus 21.7%) and, even after performing logistic regression analysis, still showed a greater preference for future urban practice at both entry and exit of medical school than all other students (entry questionnaire OR = 3.3, p < 0.01, and exit questionnaire OR = 3.9, p < 0.05). There was no significant difference in preference for higher-paid medical specialties or those in short-supply between Bond medical students and all other Australian medical students.Conclusion: Full-fee paying medical students of Bond University demonstrate similar future specialty preferences but are far more likely to come from an urban background and choose urban over rural practice than other medical students. Further research is necessary to better understand the implications of full-fee paying education on the medical workforce.
This document has been peer reviewed.