OBJECTIVE: To determine the opinion of current residents and recent graduates of internal medicine training programs regarding an additional mandatory year of residency training. METHODS: A survey was made of 2,000 associate members of the American College of Physicians from five geographic regions. RESULTS: Of 917 respondents, 70.3% thought a fourth year of training would impact negatively on their choice of a career in internal medicine, and 82.9% believed a mandatory fourth year should not be required of residents choosing a subspecialty career. Furthermore, 58.1% of physicians surveyed thought a mandatory fourth year would discourage individuals from pursuing subspecialty careers. If a mandatory fourth year of training were required, 50.7% respondents indicated that it should consist of ambulatory training in a number of general fields, while 49.6% physicians believed the training should focus on one or two subspecialty fields. CONCLUSIONS: A mandatory fourth year of training is not supported by residents and recent graduates of the programs surveyed.
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