The choice of Morbid Anatomy as a career by medical undergraduates in a developing country
Background: The distribution of medical manpower among the various specialties should be of interest to Government, health administrators and medical educators of any nation. Objective: To examine the factors that influence specialty choice of medical students in Ilorin Medical School and the influence of undergraduate medical education on this with special focus on Morbid Anatomy. Method: A survey of 157 medical students who have completed their posting in Morbid Anatomy was undertaken using an objective semi-structured questionnaire. The questionnaire included a first part detailing the demographic characteristics of the students and the second part asking such questions relating to their specialty preferences, factors influencing their choices, their impression of Morbid-Anatomy as a specially and the improvement they would like to see in its teaching. Results: The four most popular specialties were Paediatrics (26.1%). Surgery (21.7%) Internal Medicine (14.7%) and Obstetrics & Gynaecology (14.0%). These are determined by factors like: natural interest (44.6%) possibilities of job satisfaction (17.2%) humanitarian drive (12.7%) personal convenience (5.1%) and gender issue (7.6%). Others include quality of teaching and financial reward (3.2% each), personal aptitude (2.6%) and family influence (0.6%). 1.3% of the respondents adduced no reason for their choice of specialty. While 64.3% of the respondents consider Morbid Anatomy as interesting and important, only (21.3%) would pick it as first for future career. Majority of the students would want improvement in quality of teaching, allocating more time to morbid anatomy with more practical sessions especially exposure to autopsy practice. Conclusion: Health administrators, planners and medical educators must develop strategies to attract medical students to unpopular specialties like morbid anatomy. This may include improving quality of teaching, giving priority to employment of specialists in such field and the use of role models to encourage medical students.
Keywords: Morbid Anatomy, undergraduate education career
NQJHM Vol. 15 (2) 2005: pp. 64-66