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Clinics (Sao Paulo). 2005 Apr;60(2):143-50. Epub 2005 Apr 26.

What is behind a student's choice for becoming a doctor?

Author information

1
Grapal-Psychological Counseling Group, Faculty of Medicine, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, SP, Brazil. luizmillan@uol.com.br

Abstract

PURPOSE:

To determine the reasons for choosing the medical profession by interviewing freshmen medical students from the Faculty of Medicine, University of São Paulo and investigating their socio-economic and psychological profiles, as well as to determine whether there are gender differences.

METHOD:

One hundred and sixty three freshmen medical students answered a questionnaire regarding their socio-economical profile. Of those, 30 female and 30 male students underwent a face-to-face interview regarding the career choice, the Thematic Apperception Test (TAT) and the 16 Personality Factor Questionnaire (16 PF). The results were analyzed qualitatively and by Mann-Whitney, chi2, Fisher's Exact, and r(p) coefficient tests.

RESULTS:

Most students were middle class, catholic, and had physicians in their families. Students of both genders had made an: early choice of the medical career and a persistence in taking exams many times, even after being discouraged. They also showed an awareness of the difficulties and limitations in developing their careers. The study revealed a strong valuation of the humanistic aspects of medicine; openness to new experiences; a deep personal identification with the choice of profession; a critical need for fulfillment in their careers; and conscious and unconscious desires to help people and be recognized for their usefulness, without being narcissistic. Female students were more sensitive (P <.001) and less imaginative (P = .005) than male students, who were more utilitarian and less grounded; female students tended to present greater emotional maturity while male students presented a greater tendency towards competition, and were more ambitious.

CONCLUSIONS:

Students of both genders have similar socio-economical profiles and features regarding their motivations for choosing the medical profession. Slight differences were found regarding some psychological aspects.

PMID:
15880251
DOI:
/S1807-59322005000200011
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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