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Factors influencing the choice of a medical specialty among medical students

Author(s): Areeba Saif | Syed Askari Hasan | Tahrim Farrukh | Najla Khan | Hira Batool | Tooba Baqai

Journal: El Mednifico Journal
ISSN 2307-7301

Volume: 1;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 32;
Date: 2013;
Original page

Keywords: Medical Education | Specialty | Medical Students | Pakistan

Background: The choice of a medical specialty by a medical student is a complex process in which several factors play a contributory role, making the decision process an evolving one as the medical student undergoes different experiences in his/her professional journey. In our study, we attempted to identify factors that play a significant role in influencing medical students towards choosing a specialty and also to delineate the differences that exist amongst students’ priorities based on gender and year of study at a medical university.Methods: This was a cross-sectional survey conducted on the medical students enrolled at Dow Medical College. Students from all five years of the medicine program were randomly selected. A self-administered questionnaire based on 16 questions was designed. The first part comprised of bio-data and specification of the choice of career by the participants. The second part comprised 13 factors influencing students’ choices, that were to be rated by the students in the order of their importance. Mann Whitney test, Kruskal Wallis test and Tukey’s test was performed for comparison.Results: Out of 400 candidates that successfully completed the study, all except one planned to specialize in one of the three major fields. 233 (58.4%) students wanted to pursue medicine, 156 (39.1%) surgery and only 10 (2.5%) wanted to adopt research as their career. Significant differences were found in working hours, duration of residency and influence during clinical rotations between the two specialties.Conclusion: These findings re-enforce the recently evolving idea that all disparities existing between different specialties should be resolved so as to ensure an equal spread of doctors in all fields. There is also a need to introduce more female friendly legislations and more incentives need to be offered to medical graduates to prompt more of them to choose a future career in research.
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