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Keywords:

  • geriatric medicine;
  • recruitment;
  • medical subspecialty selection;
  • career decision-making

As the number of Canadians aged 65 and older continues to increase, declining recruitment into geriatric medicine (GM) raises concerns about the future viability of this medical subspecialty. To develop effective strategies to attract more GM trainees into the field, it is necessary to understand how medical students, residents, GM trainees, and specialists make career choices. The Geriatric Recruitment Issues Study (GRIST) was designed to assess specific methods that could be used to improve recruitment into geriatrics in Canada. Between November 2002 and January 2003, 530 participants were invited to complete the GRIST survey (117 Canadian geriatricians, 12 GM trainees, 96 internal medicine residents, and 305 senior medical students). Two hundred fifty-three surveys (47.7%) were completed and returned (from 54 participating geriatricians, 9 GM trainees, 50 internal medicine residents, and 140 senior medical students). The survey asked respondents to rate factors influencing their choice of medical career, the attractiveness of GM, and the anticipated effectiveness of potential recruitment strategies. Although feedback varied across the four groups on these issues, consistencies were observed between medical students and residents and between GM trainees and geriatricians. All groups agreed that role modeling was effective and that summer student research programs were an ineffective recruitment strategy. Based on the GRIST findings, this article proposes six recommendations for improving recruitment into Canadian geriatric medicine training programs.