Factors Influencing the Choice of Orthopaedic Surgery Specialty Amongst Medical undergraduates in Enugu Nigeria
Background: There is need for equitable distribution of specialist workforce in every healthcare system. The composition and pattern of specialists is largely determined by the specialty preferences of medical undergraduates. The preference of orthopaedic surgery specialty by medical
undergraduates has been poor. The study aimed to determine the factors that influenced the choice of orthopaedic surgery.
Methods: A descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted among final year medical undergraduates of College of Medicine, University of Nigeria. A structured selfadministered questionnaire was used to collect information on the socio-demographic profile of the students, the specialty preferences and the factors that influenced their choices.
Result: A total of 152 students were studied. The most preferred first choice specialties were general surgery (19.7%), obstetrics and gynaecology (14.5%), and public health (10.5%). Radiology (1.7%), orthopaedic surgery (2%) and plastic surgery (2%) were among the least preferred specialties. About half of the students (50.6%) of the students preferred surgical specialties to non-surgical specialties. A total of 17 students (11.2%) chose orthopaedic surgery as either first or second choice specialty. The factors that influenced the choice of orthopaedic surgery were personal abilities, personal abilities and career prospects.
Conclusion: There is low level of interest in orthopaedic surgery among our medical undergraduates. Reviewing the undergraduate medical curriculum to increase the period of clerkship in orthopaedic surgery may change this trend.
Keywords: specialty, choices, medical students, Enugu, Nigeria