Research Article
Volume 12 Issue 7 - 2021
Evaluation of Factors that may Influence a Medical Student’s Decision to Pursue a Career in Orthopaedic Surgery
Lucy E Meyer1, Symone M Brown2, Kevin Black3, Ann VanHeest4, Lisa Cannada5, Keith Kenter6 and Mary K Mulcahey7*
1Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC, USA
2Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Tulane University School of Medicine, New Orleans, LA, USA
3Professor, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Penn State University School of Medicine, Hershey, PA, USA
4Program Director, Professor, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis, MN, USA
5Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Novant Health Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine, Charlotte, NC, USA
6Professor, Chair, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Western Michigan University Homer Stryker, MD School of Medicine, Kalamazoo, MI, USA
7Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Tulane University School of Medicine, New Orleans, LA, USA
*Corresponding Author: Mary K Mulcahey, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Tulane University School of Medicine, New Orleans, LA, USA.
Received: June 19, 2021; Published: June 29, 2021


Background: Women comprise over 50% of medical students and an increasing number are pursuing careers in surgical subspecialties. Despite improvements, orthopaedic surgery continues to have the lowest female representation among all surgical subspecialties.

Objective: The purpose of this study was to determine the most important factors that motivate and/or deter medical students from pursuing a career in orthopaedic surgery.

Methods: An anonymous electronic survey was distributed to PGY1-3 orthopaedic surgery residents at 5 ACGME accredited institutions, applicants to the orthopaedic residency program at the senior author’s institution in 2017 and 2018, and all medical students at 3 LCME accredited institutions. The survey consisted of questions regarding demographics, motivations for pursuing careers in various fields, and factors that may have deterred a career in orthopaedics.

Results: A 25% response rate of medical students (455/1788) was attained. A 20% response rate of 152 orthopaedic surgery residents (152/780) was attained. Many students, 40%, and residents, 45%, indicated that experiences before medical school most heavily influenced their decision regarding desired specialty. Participants responded freely to a question regarding verbal deterrents received about a career in orthopaedic surgery. Medical students and residents indicated the competitive match process and lack of work-life balance were the strongest deterring factors, while patient care was the strongest motivating factor for pursuing a career in orthopaedic surgery. Many of the respondents also highlighted verbal deterrents received during their training.

Conclusion: Overall, men more commonly received deterrents regarding academic performance, while women received deterrents related to physical capabilities and gender.

Keywords: Orthopaedics; Medical Student; Resident; Motivating Factors


  1. Van Heest Ann E and Julie Agel. “The Uneven Distribution of Women in Orthopaedic Surgery Resident Training Programs in the United States”. The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery-American Volume2 (2012): e91-8.
  2. Day, Charles S., et al. “Diversity Based on Race, Ethnicity, and Sex Between Academic Orthopaedic Surgery and Other Specialties”. The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery-American Volume13 (2010): 2328-2335.
  3. American Association of Medical Colleges. Table A-1: U.S. Medical School Applications and Matriculants by School, State of Legal Residence, and Sex, 2018-2019 (2017).
  4. Women in U.S. Academic Medicine: Statistics and Benchmarking Report 2011-12 (2017).
  5. Brotherton Sarah E and Sylvia I Etzel. “Graduate Medical Education, 2015-2016”. The Journal of the American Medical Association21 (2016): 2291.
  6. Daniels Eldra W., et al. “Has Diversity Increased in Orthopaedic Residency Programs since 1995?” Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research®8 (2012): 2319-2324.
  7. Baldwin Keith., et al. “Factors Affecting Interest in Orthopedics Among Female Medical Students: A Prospective Analysis”. Orthopedics (2011).
  8. O’Connor Mary I. “Medical School Experiences Shape Women Students’ Interest in Orthopaedic Surgery”. Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research®9 (2016): 1967-1972.
  9. Hill Jaclyn F., et al. “Residents’ Perceptions of Sex Diversity in Orthopaedic Surgery”. The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery-American Volume19 (2013): e144-146.
  10. Schroeder Joshua E., et al. “Medical Students’ and Interns’ Interest in Orthopedic Surgery: The Gender Factor”. Journal of Surgical Education2 (2014): 198-204.
  11. Bernstein Joseph. “Why Did You Apply in Orthopaedic Surgery?” Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research2 (2018): 196-199.
  12. Rao Raj D., et al. “Factors Motivating Medical Students in Selecting a Career Specialty: Relevance for a Robust Orthopaedic Pipeline”. Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons7 (2017): 527-535.
  13. Johnson Amanda L., et al. “Why Do Medical Students Choose Orthopaedics as a Career?” Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery11 (2012): e78.
  14. Mulcahey Mary K., et al. “The Role of Mentoring in the Development of Successful Orthopaedic Surgeons”. Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons13 (2018): 463-471.
  15. Lattanza Lisa L., et al. “The Perry Initiative’s Medical Student Outreach Program Recruits Women Into Orthopaedic Residency”. Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research9 (2016): 1962-1966.
  16. Giantini Larsen Alexandra M., et al. “Barriers to Pursuing a Career in Surgery: An Institutional Survey of Harvard Medical School Students”. Annals of Surgery6 (2021): 1120-1126.
Citation: Mary K Mulcahey., et al. “Evaluation of Factors that may Influence a Medical Student’s Decision to Pursue a Career in Orthopaedic Surgery”. EC Orthopaedics 12.8 (2021): 45-56.

PubMed Indexed Article

EC Pharmacology and Toxicology
LC-UV-MS and MS/MS Characterize Glutathione Reactivity with Different Isomers (2,2' and 2,4' vs. 4,4') of Methylene Diphenyl-Diisocyanate.

PMID: 31143884 [PubMed]

PMCID: PMC6536005

EC Pharmacology and Toxicology
Alzheimer's Pathogenesis, Metal-Mediated Redox Stress, and Potential Nanotheranostics.

PMID: 31565701 [PubMed]

PMCID: PMC6764777

EC Neurology
Differences in Rate of Cognitive Decline and Caregiver Burden between Alzheimer's Disease and Vascular Dementia: a Retrospective Study.

PMID: 27747317 [PubMed]

PMCID: PMC5065347

EC Pharmacology and Toxicology
Will Blockchain Technology Transform Healthcare and Biomedical Sciences?

PMID: 31460519 [PubMed]

PMCID: PMC6711478

EC Pharmacology and Toxicology
Is it a Prime Time for AI-powered Virtual Drug Screening?

PMID: 30215059 [PubMed]

PMCID: PMC6133253

EC Psychology and Psychiatry
Analysis of Evidence for the Combination of Pro-dopamine Regulator (KB220PAM) and Naltrexone to Prevent Opioid Use Disorder Relapse.

PMID: 30417173 [PubMed]

PMCID: PMC6226033

EC Anaesthesia
Arrest Under Anesthesia - What was the Culprit? A Case Report.

PMID: 30264037 [PubMed]

PMCID: PMC6155992

EC Orthopaedics
Distraction Implantation. A New Technique in Total Joint Arthroplasty and Direct Skeletal Attachment.

PMID: 30198026 [PubMed]

PMCID: PMC6124505

EC Pulmonology and Respiratory Medicine
Prevalence and factors associated with self-reported chronic obstructive pulmonary disease among adults aged 40-79: the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2007-2012.

PMID: 30294723 [PubMed]

PMCID: PMC6169793

EC Dental Science
Important Dental Fiber-Reinforced Composite Molding Compound Breakthroughs

PMID: 29285526 [PubMed]

PMCID: PMC5743211

EC Microbiology
Prevalence of Intestinal Parasites Among HIV Infected and HIV Uninfected Patients Treated at the 1o De Maio Health Centre in Maputo, Mozambique

PMID: 29911204 [PubMed]

PMCID: PMC5999047

EC Microbiology
Macrophages and the Viral Dissemination Super Highway

PMID: 26949751 [PubMed]

PMCID: PMC4774560

EC Microbiology
The Microbiome, Antibiotics, and Health of the Pediatric Population.

PMID: 27390782 [PubMed]

PMCID: PMC4933318

EC Microbiology
Reactive Oxygen Species in HIV Infection

PMID: 28580453 [PubMed]

PMCID: PMC5450819

EC Microbiology
A Review of the CD4 T Cell Contribution to Lung Infection, Inflammation and Repair with a Focus on Wheeze and Asthma in the Pediatric Population

PMID: 26280024 [PubMed]

PMCID: PMC4533840

EC Neurology
Identifying Key Symptoms Differentiating Myalgic Encephalomyelitis and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome from Multiple Sclerosis

PMID: 28066845 [PubMed]

PMCID: PMC5214344

EC Pharmacology and Toxicology
Paradigm Shift is the Normal State of Pharmacology

PMID: 28936490 [PubMed]

PMCID: PMC5604476

EC Neurology
Examining those Meeting IOM Criteria Versus IOM Plus Fibromyalgia

PMID: 28713879 [PubMed]

PMCID: PMC5510658

EC Neurology
Unilateral Frontosphenoid Craniosynostosis: Case Report and a Review of the Literature

PMID: 28133641 [PubMed]

PMCID: PMC5267489

EC Ophthalmology
OCT-Angiography for Non-Invasive Monitoring of Neuronal and Vascular Structure in Mouse Retina: Implication for Characterization of Retinal Neurovascular Coupling

PMID: 29333536 [PubMed]

PMCID: PMC5766278

EC Neurology
Longer Duration of Downslope Treadmill Walking Induces Depression of H-Reflexes Measured during Standing and Walking.

PMID: 31032493 [PubMed]

PMCID: PMC6483108

EC Microbiology
Onchocerciasis in Mozambique: An Unknown Condition for Health Professionals.

PMID: 30957099 [PubMed]

PMCID: PMC6448571

EC Nutrition
Food Insecurity among Households with and without Podoconiosis in East and West Gojjam, Ethiopia.

PMID: 30101228 [PubMed]

PMCID: PMC6086333

EC Ophthalmology
REVIEW. +2 to +3 D. Reading Glasses to Prevent Myopia.

PMID: 31080964 [PubMed]

PMCID: PMC6508883

EC Gynaecology
Biomechanical Mapping of the Female Pelvic Floor: Uterine Prolapse Versus Normal Conditions.

PMID: 31093608 [PubMed]

PMCID: PMC6513001

EC Dental Science
Fiber-Reinforced Composites: A Breakthrough in Practical Clinical Applications with Advanced Wear Resistance for Dental Materials.

PMID: 31552397 [PubMed]

PMCID: PMC6758937

EC Microbiology
Neurocysticercosis in Child Bearing Women: An Overlooked Condition in Mozambique and a Potentially Missed Diagnosis in Women Presenting with Eclampsia.

PMID: 31681909 [PubMed]

PMCID: PMC6824723

EC Microbiology
Molecular Detection of Leptospira spp. in Rodents Trapped in the Mozambique Island City, Nampula Province, Mozambique.

PMID: 31681910 [PubMed]

PMCID: PMC6824726

EC Neurology
Endoplasmic Reticulum-Mitochondrial Cross-Talk in Neurodegenerative and Eye Diseases.

PMID: 31528859 [PubMed]

PMCID: PMC6746603

EC Psychology and Psychiatry
Can Chronic Consumption of Caffeine by Increasing D2/D3 Receptors Offer Benefit to Carriers of the DRD2 A1 Allele in Cocaine Abuse?

PMID: 31276119 [PubMed]

PMCID: PMC6604646

EC Anaesthesia
Real Time Locating Systems and sustainability of Perioperative Efficiency of Anesthesiologists.

PMID: 31406965 [PubMed]

PMCID: PMC6690616

EC Pharmacology and Toxicology
A Pilot STEM Curriculum Designed to Teach High School Students Concepts in Biochemical Engineering and Pharmacology.

PMID: 31517314 [PubMed]

PMCID: PMC6741290

EC Pharmacology and Toxicology
Toxic Mechanisms Underlying Motor Activity Changes Induced by a Mixture of Lead, Arsenic and Manganese.

PMID: 31633124 [PubMed]

PMCID: PMC6800226

EC Neurology
Research Volunteers' Attitudes Toward Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Myalgic Encephalomyelitis.

PMID: 29662969 [PubMed]

PMCID: PMC5898812

EC Pharmacology and Toxicology
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy for Alzheimer's Disease.

PMID: 30215058 [PubMed]

PMCID: PMC6133268

News and Events

November Issue Release

We always feel pleasure to share our updates with you all. Here, notifying you that we have successfully released the November issue of respective journals and the latest articles can be viewed on the current issue pages.

Submission Deadline for Upcoming Issue

ECronicon delightfully welcomes all the authors around the globe for effective collaboration with an article submission for the upcoming issue of respective journals. Submissions are accepted on/before December 09, 2022.

Certificate of Publication

ECronicon honors with a "Publication Certificate" to the corresponding author by including the names of co-authors as a token of appreciation for publishing the work with our respective journals.

Best Article of the Issue

Editors of respective journals will always be very much interested in electing one Best Article after each issue release. The authors of the selected article will be honored with a "Best Article of the Issue" certificate.

Certifying for Review

ECronicon certifies the Editors for their first review done towards the assigned article of the respective journals.

Latest Articles

The latest articles will be updated immediately on the articles in press page of the respective journals.