The Impact of Residency Training on Physicians’ Outlook on AIDS: A Cohort Analysis
The impact of training on physicians' commitment to professional values is examined, using a cohort design to assess the evolution of attitudes toward AIDS during residency training. Cohorts of surgeons training in the same six residency programs were followed at key junctures, and their outlooks on three AIDS-related attitudes were examined: willingness to treat people with AIDS (PWAs), concern about exposure to HIV, and perceived benefits of treating AIDS. The findings revealed a consistent, negative impact of training on all three attitudes. Cohort and period (historical) effects were limited: younger cohorts more often viewed treating PWAs as a clinically valuable experience, and greater concern about exposure was evidenced as training progressed. The findings yield new evidence of the importance of residency training to professional socialization. More knowledge of alterable aspects of residency training that play a role is key to assuring that physicians emerge with a dedication to fulfilling their social responsibilities.