The choice of surgery as a future career specialty among medical interns in a Nigerian Tertiary Hospital
AbstractAim: To determine the factors affecting the choice of surgery as a future career specialty among medical interns in a regional hospital in Nigeria.
Method: A total of 74 junior doctors who completed internship training at the university of Benin teaching Hospital in 2012 were interviewed in this cross sectional study. A structured questionnaire was administered to determine the factors influencing the choice of surgery as a future career specialty.
Result: The respondents included 48 (64.9%) males and 26 (35.1%) females with a mean age of 26.94±1.8 years. Twenty eight (37.8%) doctors were interested in the pursuit of a career in surgery while 46(62.2%) were not. The male doctors were more likely to choose surgery as a career than their female colleagues (p=0.01). The most common reasons given for choosing surgery as a career were 'scientific challenge of surgical practice' in 22(78.6%) and 'gratification from immediate patient outcome' in 14 (50.0%). The predominant reasons for not opting for
surgery were 'demanding nature of surgical practice' in 18(39.1%) and 'no inclination towards surgery' in 11(23.9%) respondents. Poor practical exposure and lack of a role model were factors associated with a choice against surgery.
Conclusion: The choice of surgery as a future career specialty is common among medical interns in the sub region. Adequate mentoring and early practical exposure are among factors needed to maintain this interest.