There is a shortage of doctors in the UK, particularly in psychiatry and pathology. Little is known about prospective medical students' career intentions or attitudes. This study aimed to report on the career intentions and attitudes to psychiatry of 819 attenders at a sixth-form conference for prospective medical students.
A much higher proportion of students expressed favourable attitudes to psychiatry as a career than might have been expected. The most popular career was paediatrics and the least popular was genitourinary medicine.
Medical schools need to be proactive in providing information, career advice and positive role models. This may counteract negative propaganda and encourage career choice in tune with students' earlier feelings and patients' needs.
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