Choice of Future Career amongst Medical Students in Enugu, Nigeria: Implications for Anaesthesia
Background Despite its central role in modern healthcare delivery, anaesthesia has failed to attract adequate medical manpower in most developing countries. As a result, majority of anaesthetics are performed by non-physician practitioners. Objectives In this study, we examined the factors influencing choice of future career by medical student inEnugu, Nigeria and the implications for anaesthesia. Methods We distributed questionnaires to medical students in the last two years of their training at the University of Nigeria, Enugu, asking them to indicate in order of priorities three specialties they will most likely consider for future career. They were also requested to state fourmost important factors influencing their choice. Results All 195 completed forms were returned; 64%were males and the average age of the respondents was 25.1 years. One hundred and eighty students (93%) agreed to specialise, 1 did not while 12 were undecided. Only 1% of the students chose anaesthesia as their first choice. The other specialties like surgery (29%), paediatrics (14%), public health (14%), obstetrics and gynaecology (12%), radiology (11%), internal medicine (5%) and ophthalmology (5%) were considerably of more interest to them. Ability to pursue other hobbies (40%), academic and research opportunities (23%), availability of training post (10%), career progression (10%), earning potential (9%) and influence of a role model (6%) were the factors affecting career decisions among the students. Conclusion This study has highlighted a very low level of interest for anaesthesia amongst Nigerian undergraduates. It also showed that ability to pursue other hobbies, availability of posts as well as academic and research opportunities are the main influencing factors in the choice of future specialty.We call for urgent measures be put in place tomake anaesthesiamore attractive to youngmedical graduates.
KeyWords: Career Choice,Anaesthesia,Medical Students, Priorities.