Jos Journal of Medicine

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Medical students' preference for choice of clinical specialties: A multicentre survey in Nigeria

IC Akpayak, KE Okonta, EE Ekpe


Background: The important goal of undergraduate medical training is to train doctors who would undergo further training to become specialists in various fields of clinical medicine. The admission into the specialty training programame depends largely on the pool of undergraduate medical students who have passed qualifications exams and are willing to choose and undergo training in a given clinical specialty. There are many factors considered by medical students when they make up their minds to choose a clinical specialty. This study seeks to determine the medical student preference for the clinical specialty and the factors that they consider in making such choice.
Methods: This is a cross-sectional questionnaire based multicentre study in 3 accredited medical training institutions in Nigeria. Final year medical students who were willing to participate in the study filled out the questionnaires for fifteen minutes.  Information on their age, gender, specialty of preference and reason for choosing a particular clinical specialty were sought.
Results: A total of 187 final year students took part in the study. Most of the students where in 21 – 30 year age range. Obstetrics and Gynaecology (24.9%), Surgery (18.9%), Internal medicine (14.1%) and Paediatics (8.1%), where the top clinical specialties preferred by the respondents. The less preferred specialties where Pathology  (2.7%), radiology (1.1%) ophthalmology (4.3%), ENT (0%). Personal liking  (51.9%), society perception (13.0%), financial reward (8.1%); where the most considered reasons for the choice of specialty.
Conclusion:Medical students prefer to choose core-clinical specialty based on personal liking, financial reward and society perception.

Keyword: Medical Students' Preference; Clinical Specialties; Nigeria

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