Objectives: The purpose of this study was to identify differences in ophthalmology resident candidates and practicing ophthalmologists’ career perceptions. A secondary aim was to evaluate specific demographic factors (e.g., gender, ethnicity, career interests, etc.) among residency candidates regarding their career perceptions. Methods: A survey instrument (Critical factors in Career Perceptions) was sent by e-mail to prospective residents (n= 122). Group differences were calculated using a one sample t-test analysis. Results: Compared to practicing ophthalmologists (n = 56), residency candidates were more likely (p < 0.05) to expect greater professional job satisfaction from a number of career factors (e.g., time with patients, physician teamwork, etc.); family-personal factors (e.g., diversity of job skills, sole professional responsibility, etc.); and financial factors (i.e., income and security) than those in practice. Gender differences between candidates revealed that women were more interested in spending time with patients and in computer technology applications. Conclusions: These results suggest that medical school and residency program leaders to consider specific factors ophthalmologists encounter in their profession so that residency candidates have a more realistic view of their chosen profession. Several recommendations for resident recruitment and curriculum development are provided
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