The aim of this study was to explore the experiences of Australian general practitioners (GPs) with a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) about their choice to abandon or pursue an academic career.
A qualitative study of 18 GPs (PhD obtained between 2006 and 2016) was conducted. Semi-structured telephone interviews were transcribed and analysed using concurrent thematic analysis.
General practice researchers faced insecure career pathways. They often work in isolation, there is a lack of critical mass, and research was often described as a hobby (ie unfunded, done from home). Solutions included expanding academic general practice registrar positions to include advanced research training, building professional networks, mentoring, and better marketing of general practice research.
Focused investment in developing clear and sustainable career pathways is essential to nurture and retain general practice researchers and research leaders. The research culture and professional standing of general practice researchers also need to improve. Support from professional bodies and colleagues, and enabling research collaborations, are key.