Campbell, B, Krapf, J and Jurjus, R (2020) Influence of Medical Student Age and Experience on Clinical Rotations and Specialty Choice. Journal of Academic Development and Education (12). ISSN 2051-3593

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Historically, most medical students began medical school right after completing their undergraduate degree. However, over the past 4 years, the average age of medical student matriculation was 24 years. Many students are taking a few years to pursue other opportunities before entering medical school, which has been shown to help in the transition to the clinical years of medical school.

An anonymous online quantitative survey was sent from June 2017 through March 2018 to medical students enrolled in clinical rotations at four large medical schools representing different regions of the US. In this study, students 25 years or older were considered non-traditional, while students under the age of 25 were considered traditional. Survey questions were adapted from a qualitative study on the experiences of mature-aged medical students.

A total of 195 medical students responded to the survey, which was about a 14% participation rate. The average age upon entering medical school was 24.1 years. Compared with traditional students, non-traditional students indicated that life experience (p < 0.001), previous work experience (p < 0.001), and age (p < 0.001) had a stronger impact on their clinical rotations. Additionally, non-traditional students reported a stronger influence of work experience (p < 0.004) and age (p < 0.001) on specialty choice than traditional-aged students.

These findings support the idea that non-traditional students gain valuable experience from the time between obtaining their undergraduate degree and starting medical school, which is a significant factor in determining specialty choice and residency locations.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is the final published version of the article (version of record). It first appeared online via Keele University at - please refer to any applicable terms of use of the publisher.
Uncontrolled Keywords: clinical rotations, life experience, non-traditional students, specialty choice, undergraduate medical education, work experience
Subjects: R Medicine > R Medicine (General) > R735 Medical education. Medical schools. Research
Divisions: Keele Institute for Innovation and Teaching Excellence
Depositing User: Mr Scott McGowan
Date Deposited: 03 Oct 2019 11:04
Last Modified: 25 Feb 2021 14:32

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