Why students select a medical career? A descriptive study conducted in various private and public sector medical colleges of Pakistan
Objectives: To explore the reasons behind the selection of medical careers by the students and various factors influencing their choice.
Materials and Methods: This descriptive questionnaire-based cross-sectional study was conducted in 2017 in six different medical colleges including both private and public sector institutions. Data were analysed with SPSS 21 and Epi Info 7 and conclusions drawn according to the objectives of the study.
Results: Out of 164 students, 75% of the students came from an urban background. Female students were more likely to have well-educated mothers than their male peers (OR 3.99, CI: 1.81-8.77, P-value: 0.0007) with no significant difference seen in fathers’ education between students of different types of medical colleges and gender. Service to humanity or financial and social benefits associated with this profession were the main reasons for pursuing the medical career among the students, whereas parents were mostly fascinated by the financial and social benefits of the job. Nearly a fifth of the students had no personal interest in medical studies and profession; they sought admission only because of their parents. About 11 % were regretting their choice of career. Almost half of the students (48%) were not satisfied with the ways of teaching and curriculum.
Conclusion: There was no significant difference in the views of private and public sector medical colleges. Upgrading the basic and medical education system and the selection criteria for medical colleges is essential to alleviate location and specialty-based health workforce shortage.
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