Chulalongkorn Medical Journal


Background : In equitable distribution of physicians is a challenge especially in ruralareas of developing countries including Thailand. The resignations ofnewly graduated physicians imply a failure of in comprehensive policyinterventions that are not based on real and holistic understanding ofthe issue.Objective : This study was aimed to empirically explore factors influencing decisionmaking of newly graduated physicians in choosing future practice areas.Design : Descriptive statistics and exploratory factor analysis (EFA) were used foranalyzing the responses.Setting : Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, Faculty of Medicine,Chulalongkorn UniversityMethods : A national survey of 751 physicians who graduated from all 12 medicalschools in Thailand was conducted in April, 2012. The questionnaire wascarefully developed based on literature review and qualitative study thatcontained three sections: basic information of responding physicians,potential workplace and duration they intended to work, as well as opinionson issues that influence their decision making, using 5-point Likert’s scale.Results : The response rate was 49.93%, almost these 60% were female withaverage age of 24 years old, compatible with the national profile of Thaiphysicians. Five factors identified included working condition (dailyworkload, out-of-hour duty workload and frequency, hospital size), lifestylequality (environment, food, entertainment, cost of living), essential amenities(e.g. bank), professional development (learning opportunity, staff reputation,familiarity with staff), and adjustment concerns (distance from currentresidence, parents’ or relatives’ preference, familiarity with the area).Conclusion : At least five factors that influence the decision making of newly graduatedphysicians in choosing areas of practice were identified. These factorsare useful for the development of comprehensive interventions foralleviating inequitable distributions of physicians in developing countries.


Faculty of Medicine, Chulalongkorn University

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