Medical students and general surgery - Israel's national survey: Lifestyle is not the sole issue

Haggi Mazeh*, Ido Mizrahi, Ahmed Eid, Herbert R. Freund, Tanir M. Allweis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Background In recent years, a significant decline in the number of medical school graduates who choose general surgery as a career has been noted in Israel. The aim of this study is to characterize the factors that deter Israeli medical students from choosing general surgery. Previous studies in the United States identified lifestyle and financial issues as the most important factors. Methods A web-based survey was distributed to graduating medical students throughout Israel. The survey covered different factors and aspects affecting career choice, requiring participants to rate their choices with a 1-5 score. Results In all, 218 surveys were completed; 72 (33%) students considered general surgery before the surgical clerkship versus only 48 (22%) students after. Professional interest and satisfaction (4.7) were ranked as the most important factors for choosing a residency, followed by an amiable working atmosphere (4.3). The 2 strongest deterrents from general surgery were doctors' inter-relationships (3.5) and compromised lifestyle (3.3). The decision to avoid surgery can be reversed by improving both lifestyle (3.5) and inter-relationships (3.0), but it is less influenced by a substantial increase in residents' salary. Conclusions More medical graduates would consider general surgery as a career option if the lifestyle and inter-relationships were perceived as better. An increase in monetary reward did not seem to have a paramount impact among Israeli medical graduates. The surgical clerkship is an important turning point in the students' attitude toward surgery as a career and efforts must be made to improve students' experience significantly during this clerkship.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)303-308
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Surgical Education
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Israel
  • interrelationships
  • lifestyle
  • medical students
  • survey


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