Influencing Medical Students to Choose Primary Care Giving as a Career Path
Most nursing students choose career paths advantageous in terms of pay and specialty jobs with prestige and society’s respect (Sheikh et al, 2021). Primary care is one of the essential parts of the healthcare industry as it mainly ensures the early detection and treatment of diseases. Medical specialty career paths chosen by students play an essential role in determining the future balance in staff numbers for future medical practitioners. A lesser number of students choosing primary care as their entry-level option has led to a shortage of this group of caregivers, hence, increased challenges in dealing with diseases (Sheikh et al, 2021). This essay will discuss the over-focus on specialty and high-paying careers in healthcare and recommend measures that rectify this potentially damaging problem.
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An individual’s life experiences define the choice of career path taken by aspiring medical practitioners. The environments within which a person has engaged themselves instill specific views and beliefs on a particular idea, making them choose what is considered the best option in that specific surrounding. According to Young & Kroth (2017), students who grew up in middle and high-income households are more likely to choose specialty career paths than low-income households, while those from minority groups and immigrant populations are more likely to choose the primary care field more often as they aim at taking good care of their communities. Globally, the shortage of primary care workers has been a significant issue, with the United States experiencing approximately a shortage of 134,000 primary care physicians (Sheikh et al, 2021).
The various stakeholders in the health sector have played a significant role in the building of this idea. There needs to be a fair spread of medical personnel amongst the different fields of healthcare. Medical schools in the country have over-emphasized equipping students with exceptional skills and professional medical services. The little emphasis placed on primary care is evidenced by the low number of individuals who learn and experience the field. Medical schools changed to the specialized education system from an early apprenticeship system, thus, eliminating the need for experience in basic primary care facilities (Young & Kroth, 2017). This produced well-rounded doctors equipped with the know-how to diagnose and treat many diseases, thus improving service delivery.
The government should address the industry’s overemphasis on speciality and professional career doctors through its various agencies. Without an adequate number of primary caregivers and physicians, there is the risk of the health system’s collapse as only expensive, highly specialized options will be available. It is hard and almost impossible to run such a system successfully as there will be fewer hospital visits and lesser insurance plan subscribers. Primary caregiving, as a vital aspect of the American health system, promotes early diagnosis of diseases, proper treatment and monitoring, and prevention of complications in sick patients; this gives people the benefit of cheaper treatments while improving the quality of life. The government, through its policymakers, should liaise with schools and insurance providers to introduce policies and plans that encourage more people to work in primary care facilities.
Sheikh, A., Anderson, M., Albala, S., Casadei, B., Franklin, B. D., Richards, M., … & Mossialos, E. (2021). Health information technology and digital innovation for national learning health and care systems. The Lancet Digital Health.
Young, K. M., & Kroth, P. J. (2017). Sultz & Young’s Health Care USA. Jones & Bartlett Learning.
In 1992, medical residency programs in the U.S. were described as “responsive principally to the service needs of hospitals, the interests of the medical specialty societies, the objectives of the residency program directors, and the career preferences of the medical students.” In fact, there are so many more residency programs than can be filled by American medical school graduates, that an annual influx of foreign educated physicians has been required to satisfy the service needs of many hospitals. In addition, until recently, there has been no attempt to match America’s needs for various kinds of specialty and generalist physicians with the hospital-based training programs that were producing them. In light of these facts, pose an opinion on this question:
Few graduates of medical school choose primary care, and instead flock to specialties with greater pay and prestige. Since primary care is the basis for maintaining health and early diagnosis of potential health problems, who should be responsible for rectifying this misplaced emphasis of health care, insurers, medical schools, the government, the AMA, and others?
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