Push and Pull Factors of Why Medical Students Want to Leave Türkiye: A Countrywide Multicenter Study

Eser E., Cil E., Sen Gundogan N. E., Col M., Yildirim Ozturk E. N., Thomas D. T., ...More

Teaching and Learning in Medicine, 2023 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/10401334.2023.2229810
  • Journal Name: Teaching and Learning in Medicine
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, CINAHL, EBSCO Education Source, Education Abstracts, Educational research abstracts (ERA), MEDLINE, Psycinfo
  • Keywords: career choice, emigration, immigration, Medical education, medical students
  • Dokuz Eylül University Affiliated: Yes


Phenomenon: Physician immigration from other countries is increasing as developed countries continue to be desirable destinations for physicians; however, the determinants of Turkish physicians’ migration decisions are still unclear. Despite its wide coverage in the media and among physicians in Türkiye, and being the subject of much debate, there is insufficient data to justify this attention. With this study, we aimed to investigate the tendency of senior medical students in Türkiye to pursue their professional careers abroad and its related factors. Approach: This cross-sectional study involved 9881 senior medical students from 39 different medical schools in Türkiye in 2022. Besides participants’ migration decision, we evaluated the push and pull factors related to working, social environment and lifestyle in Türkiye and abroad, medical school education inadequacy, and personal insufficiencies, as well as the socioeconomic variables that may affect the decision to migrate abroad. The analyses were carried out with a participation rate of at least 50%. Findings: Of the medical students, 70.7% had emigration intentions. Approximately 60% of those want to stay abroad permanently, and 61.5% of them took initiatives such as learning a foreign language abroad (54.5%) and taking relevant exams (18.9%). Those who wanted to work in the field of Research & Development were 1.37 (95% CI: 1.22–1.54) times more likely to emigrate. The push factor that was related to emigration intention was the “working conditions in the country” (OR: 1.89, 95% CI: 1.56–2.28) whereas the “social environment/lifestyle abroad” was the mere pull factor for the tendency of emigration (OR: 1.73, 95% CI: 1.45–2.06). In addition, the quality problem in medical schools also had a significant impact on students’ decisions (OR: 2.20, 95% CI: 1.83–2.65). Insights: Although the percentage of those who want to emigrate “definitely” was at the same level as in the other developing countries, the tendency to migrate “permanently” was higher in Türkiye. Improving working conditions in the country and increasing the quality of medical faculties seem vital in preventing the migration of physicians.