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Prospectus: Association of a Global Pandemic on Medical Student Grit and Specialty Selection


Grit, defined as perseverance and passion for long term goals, has become an area of particular interest as a component of medical education and matching into residency. Grit allows for measurement of subjective traits of an individual personal’s effort and perseverance. This study seeks to understand the relationship between Grit in the preclinical and clinical years of medical school and trends in specialty selection after the occurrence of a worldwide pandemic (COVID-19).


This was a prospective longitudinal study of medical students at a single institution. Students were given the 12-point Grit questionnaire and asked to select their two specialties of interest. The questionnaire was distributed at the beginning of first-year (Prologue), at the beginning of third-year (Clinical Transitions) and at the end of fourth year (Capstone). From 2018-2022, 1153 survey results were collected. Students were divided into two groups based on the time of completion of the questionnaire relative to the COVID-19 pandemic: “pre-covid” and “post-covid”.

Results / Conclusions

When looking at both the prologue and clinical transitions, there was no statistically significant difference in grit score. In terms of specialty selection, there was no difference in interest in primary care. We noted an increased interest in anesthesia (p=0.0185) and radiology (p=0.0261), with the remainder remaining relatively unchanged. COVID-19 did not affect overall medical student grit. We noted no increased or decreased interest in primary care and the majority of medical specialties had no changes in interest.

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