The choice of career by final year medical students: the Port Harcourt experience

  • J M Adotey
  • N J Jebbin


Background: The distribution of specialists in our environment is not even. Several factors affect the choice of career by intending specialists. Aim: To assess the attitude of final year medical students to specialist training, and the factors affecting their choice of career. Methods: Structured questionnaires were distributed to a set of final year medical students of the University of Port Harcourt for completion during their final rotation in medicine and surgery. They were designed to assess the students\' biodata, the likely area of specialization, the reasons for the choice made, and the stage in their training when the choice was made. The responses were then analyzed. Results: Of the 86 students, only 64 fully completed the questionnaires. Their ages ranged from 22 to 40 years (mean 26; SD 2.78). The male to female ratio was 1:1. Most of the students (70.3%) had spent 6-7 years in school. All students believed it was necessary to undertake specialist training. Obstetrics & Gynaecology and Surgery were the most favoured choices. Satisfactory practice outcome and motivation by a mentor were the most common reasons for their choices. Majority of the students made their choices in their 5th and 6th year in school. Conclusion: All the students believed that it is necessary to undertake specialist training, majority of them choosing Obstetrics & Gynaecology and Surgery. The influence of mentors could help in getting students interested in careers that are considered unattractive.

Keywords: Choice of career, Final year medical students, Port Harcourt

PHMJ Vol. 2 (2) 2008: pp. 161-165

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eISSN: 0795-3038