Chris McManus and colleagues from the University of Nottingham and University College London, in the UK, looked at 80 doctors whose applications for medical school in 1990, including personal statement and referees' reports, were available. These doctors were paired based on the results of a 2002 survey, so that one member of the pair was very happy as a doctor and the other was very dissatisfied with medicine as a career. The pairs of application forms were assessed by 96 assessors - medical school selectors, doctors, medical students or psychology students - whose task was to try to judge from the information given in the application form which of the two doctors was the happy one.
The results of the study show that the assessors cannot judge, from the information on the application form, which of the two doctors is happy and which isn't happy with a career in medicine. Judges are however consistent with one another, and tend to feel that the doctor with higher educational qualifications will be the happier, even though educational qualifications in fact do not predict happiness with a medical career.
Many doctors, in the UK and other countries, are unhappy with their careers. In the UK, a fifth of junior doctors consider leaving medicine.
Unhappiness and dissatisfaction in doctors cannot be predicted by selectors from medical school application forms: A prospective, longitudinal study Ic I McManus, Sheeraz S Iqbal, Amuthan A Chandrarajan, E E Ferguson and Joanna J Leaviss BMC Medical Education 2005, 5:38 (13 December 2005)