Measuring the Efficacy of Pathology Career Recruitment Strategies in US Medical Students.

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Archives of pathology & laboratory medicine


washington; seattle; isb


CONTEXT.—: Multiple articles and surveys in the literature suggest that medical students find a career in pathology undesirable and believe it is disproportionately focused primarily on the autopsy.

OBJECTIVE.—: To measure the effect of applied interventions on medical student attitudes about the field of pathology.

DESIGN.—: This prospective study involving medical students from first through fourth year was conducted as a pilot study in 2 medical schools in the United States. A 2-part anonymous survey regarding interest in pathology as a career and familiarity with the specialty using a 10-point scale was given to first- and second-year medical students before and after they listened to a 10-minute pathology career presentation. The same survey was given to third- and fourth-year medical students before and after a 4-week pathology elective.

RESULTS.—: A total of 121 and 83 students responded to the survey before and after the intervention, respectively. Of the 121 students who responded to the survey before the intervention, 106 (87.6%) had not spent significant time in a pathology laboratory before the intervention. The majority of responses in interest in career, job responsibilities, and features of pathologists before and after the intervention demonstrated a statistically significant difference (P < .001). We compared survey scores of presentation versus 4-week rotation groups before and after the intervention. Students who experienced the presentation did not differ from students who experienced the rotation in the majority of questions related to interest in career, job responsibilities, and features of pathologists.

CONCLUSIONS.—: Our study suggests that pathology exposure strategies can have a beneficial effect on student perceptions of the field and consideration of a career in pathology. Overall, the presentation intervention on the first- and second-year students seemed to have the greatest effect.


Graduate Medical Education


Pathology & Laboratory Medicine


Institute for Systems Biology