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Medical Specialty Interest Survey (MSIS): understanding career interest and specialty training in commencing Australian medical interns
  1. Christopher Chew1,2,
  2. Lawrence Lin2,
  3. Nathan Vos1,
  4. Jade Stevens1,
  5. Emma Nyhof1,
  6. Jason Goh1
  1. 1 Monash Doctors Workforce, Monash Health, Clayton, Victoria, Australia
  2. 2 Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, Monash University, Clayton, Victoria, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Christopher Chew, Monash Doctors Workforce, Monash Health, 246 Clayton Road, 3168, Clayton, Victoria, Australia; christopher.y.chew{at}


Aim To assess specialisation interests in commencing interns and create a standardised survey to aid medical schools, supervisors and health services in quantifying, understanding and supporting medical career development to improve medical workforce planning.

Method The Medical Specialty Interest Survey (MSIS) cross-sectional study was used. Incoming interns at a multisite tertiary hospital network in Melbourne, Australia rated their desire to pursue each specialty as a career using a Likert scale (1–5). 47 Medical Board of Australia Medical Specialties were included in the survey.

Results Completion rate was 123 of 124 (99.2%). The overall mean desirability was 2.62, suggesting on average more specialties were deemed less preferred. Critical care specialties were most popular, while surgical specialties had least interest. Gastroenterology and cardiology were most popular among internal medicine specialties. General practice had low correlation with other specialties (Pearson correlation mean R coefficient 0.106 compared with overall mean 0.208), suggesting interns interested in general practice exhibit less interest in other specialties, and interest in specialisation confers low interest in general practice. Psychiatry had the lowest mean R coefficient of 0.088.

Conclusions The MSIS quantifies relative interest in 47 medical specialties and specialty interest correlations among final-year medical students/incoming interns. The MSIS may be a tool for medical schools, healthcare services and government agencies to better understand the career interest among medical students and pre-vocational doctors and therefore improve doctor retention and well-being.

  • medical student
  • career path
  • career development
  • doctor
  • career

Data availability statement

Data are available upon reasonable request.

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Data availability statement

Data are available upon reasonable request.

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  • Contributors CC—conceptualisation, methodology, formal analysis, investigation, data curation, writing (original draft), writing (review and editing), project administration and guarantor. LL—methodology, formal analysis, investigation, data curation, writing (original draft), writing (review and editing) and project administration. NV—formal analysis, investigation and writing (review and editing). JS—conceptualisation, methodology, formal analysis, investigation and writing (review and editing). EN—formal analysis, investigation and writing (review and editing). JG—conceptualisation, methodology, formal analysis, investigation, writing (review and editing) and supervision.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability Deidentified participant data may be available upon reasonable request. Please contact Dr Christopher Y Chew at to discuss conditions of viewing.

  • Supplemental material This content has been supplied by the author(s). It has not been vetted by BMJ Publishing Group Limited (BMJ) and may not have been peer-reviewed. Any opinions or recommendations discussed are solely those of the author(s) and are not endorsed by BMJ. BMJ disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on the content. Where the content includes any translated material, BMJ does not warrant the accuracy and reliability of the translations (including but not limited to local regulations, clinical guidelines, terminology, drug names and drug dosages), and is not responsible for any error and/or omissions arising from translation and adaptation or otherwise.