Background and Objectives: Generational differences are often viewed as shaping the overall attitudes and actions of different age cohorts. It is essential to understand the motivations and generational differences in primary care physicians for efforts to recruit, retain, and educate the future physician workforce. Determining what factors most influence different generations of primary care physicians when choosing a practice site is essential to build our future primary care system. This study examined generational differences in the factors that attracted primary care physicians to their current practice.

Methods: A survey instrument was mailed to all active members of the North Carolina Medical Board who listed their primary occupation as a primary care specialty. The survey consisted of 24 demographic questions regarding personal and practice variables and a list of 21 reasons for choosing a practice location measured on a 7-point Likert type scale. A total of 975 surveys were returned and usable for the final analysis, for a return rate of 34.5%. Data were analyzed using regression and correlation procedures to determine attitudes of each generation and factors that significantly influenced responses.

Results: While slight differences between generations did exist, the overall choices for choosing a site remained stable across generations. Personality of the practice, on-call responsibilities, ability to practice comprehensive care, and location were deemed the most important factors for all generations. Differences between various demographic groups and Family Medicine versus other primary care specialties were minor with very little alteration of the top ten items being seen between groups.

Conclusion: This study indicated that there were few differences between generations regarding primary reasons for choosing a practice site. In addition, factors remained remarkably similar across different specialties, family situations, genders, and ethnic groups. Several of the top reasons that primary care physicians indicate are the most important for site selection were also potentially modifiable, such as on-call responsibilities, practice personality, and ability to practice comprehensive care. Managers, clinicians, and educators can potentially utilize this information to better prepare and recruit current and future generations of primary care physicians.

Keywords: site selection, recruiting, generational difference

Conflict(s) of Interest


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