Original Research

Choice of speciality amongst first-year medical students in the Nelson R. Mandela School of Medicine, University of KwaZulu-Natal

Onyemaechi O. Azu, Edwin Naidu, Jesse Naidu
African Journal of Primary Health Care & Family Medicine | Vol 5, No 1 | a513 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/phcfm.v5i1.513 | © 2013 Onyemaechi O. Azu, Edwin Naidu, Jesse Naidu | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 18 January 2013 | Published: 28 June 2013

About the author(s)

Onyemaechi O. Azu, Discipline of Clinical Anatomy, Nelson R. Mandela School of Medicine, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Edwin Naidu, Discipline of Clinical Anatomy, Nelson R. Mandela School of Medicine, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Jesse Naidu, Discipline of Clinical Anatomy, Nelson R. Mandela School of Medicine, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: Trends in career choice amongst medical graduates have considerable implications for the percentage of the workforce available for training.

Objective: To investigate and review factors affecting career choice by undergraduate firstyearmedical students.

Method: This was a cross-sectional study using a closed-ended, semi-structured surveyinstrument. Two hundred and four questionnaires were administered to all first-year medical students at the Nelson R. Mandela School of Medicine in the first term of the 2012 academic session.

Results: The questionnaire was completed by 167 out of 204 students (81.8% response rate). Most of the respondents were South Africans (91%) and blacks (72%), with a higher proportion of women to men (2:1). The majority (86%) intended to undertake their postgraduate training in surgical specialties (53%), general surgery (50%) and cardiology (46%). Few were interested in an academic career in basic sciences (27.6%), either because they were not interested in research and/or teaching (48%), not clinically-orientated (20%), or found it to be an unattractive choice (12.3%). The top perceived career-related factors favouring choice of speciality were personal interest and benefits to patients as many (83%) respondents still viewed the medical profession as having a bright future in South Africa.

Conclusions: Our study highlighted the fact that self and patient interests were strong determinants of speciality choices by the students and the role of parents and practice inrural areas were considered least as potential influencing factors. This would appear to be a good indicator that the healthcare sector may be boosted in the future by doctors who are wholeheartedly committed to the service of the communities with the greatest disease burden.


Keywords

medical students, career choices, factors

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Crossref Citations

1. Undergraduate medical students’ interest in specialising in Family Medicine at the University of the Free State, 2014
DT Hagemeister, A Pal, N Naidoo, U Kristen, N Mokgosana, G Joubert
South African Family Practice  vol: 59  issue: 5  first page: 166  year: 2017  
doi: 10.1080/20786190.2017.1317977