Here is an older article from the Vancouver Sun detailing student debt and choice of specialty. I have tried to make the same argument myself when debating with friends but have found it to be a weak stance to take. If you think about it, the fastest way to earn a decent salary after med school is not to specialize but rather take the fastest track to earning an income again. That track, in Canada at least, is Family medicine which has a two year residency as opposed to most specialties which have a 4 or 5 year residency. In fact in research done in the states (see article here) it was found that there was no association between the level of debt that the student left school with and the type of choice they made for their residency.
For myself student debt is a definite stress but I know that medicine as a profession pays well regardless of the specialty and with a little prudence it shouldn’t be problematic. Residency is more of a concern. The number of students has increased and the number of residence spots has stayed somewhat static. The competition for the lifestyle tracts (opthalmology, dermatology, etc) is greatly increased and you can see those students even at this point (year 2) kissing some major arse for something that they won’t have to serious think about for another year and a half. The problem for me is that I really don’t know what I want to specialize in yet so I don’t know quite where to focus my time and energy…but back to the point at hand about student debt – It’ll be huge when I leave school but I doubt it’ll actually influence what I eventually specialize in.