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Arch Iran Med. 2010 Nov;13(6):509-15. doi: 010136/AIM.0011.

Freshmen versus interns' specialty interests.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Roozbeh Hospital, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, South Kargar Avenue, Tehran, Iran.



The purpose of this study was to determine career preferences of medical students at the time of entering medical school compared with interns who were graduating; and to determine what factors influence the choice of a special discipline as a career.


A cross-sectional, questionnaire-based survey study involving freshmen and interns at Tehran University of Medical Sciences was conducted in 2006 - 2007. Respondents anonymously completed a specialties questionnaire developed by Feifel et al. The questionnaire was translated into Persian (Farsi) and several items were modified based on the circumstances.


The response rate was 91 (73%) among freshmen and 137 (77%) among interns. Forty-six freshman students (50%) and 71 interns (51.8%) indicated that they had not developed a strong decision about any particular field of medicine and needed more time. The preferred specialties among freshmen were surgery and internal medicine; whereas graduating students were more interested in "other specialties". There was no significant difference between pediatrics, gynecology, psychiatry, and general practice among the two groups. There was a significant difference in rating when it came to "anticipated income", "prestige" and "helping patients" of which interns were less interested compared to freshmen in these three areas.


Approximately one-half of the medical students were unclear about their future goals. The experience of medical school may play a role in diminishing students' interest in surgery and internal medicine as prospective careers.

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