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BMC Med Educ. 2012 Aug 8;12:72. doi: 10.1186/1472-6920-12-72.

Medical students' choices of specialty in The Gambia: the need for career counseling.

Author information

1
Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, KorleBu University Teaching Hospital, Accra, Ghana.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Understanding preferences for specialties by medical students and the factors driving choices assists policy makers in ensuring optimal spread of personnel across disciplines.

METHODS:

This cross-sectional survey using self-administered structured questionnaires was conducted on consenting students of the first medical school in The Gambia, established in 1999. Data collection was in June/July 2011. Questions were on sociodemographic characteristics of students, their parents, factors related to career preferences and opinions about counseling services. Data were analysed using JMP 8.0 software.

RESULTS:

Respondents were 52.4% of 202 eligible students. Mean age was 24.1 ± 5.0 years. Females constituted 54.7%. Muslims were 72.7% while Gambians formed 77.0%. Commonest specialties chosen by females were Obstetrics/Gynaecology, Paediatrics and Surgery in that order, while males preferred Internal Medicine, Surgery and Obstetrics/Gynaecology. Commonest factors influencing choices by females were 'focus on urgent care' (65.5%) and 'intellectual content of specialty' (56.9%). For males, these were 'intellectual content of specialty' (60.4%) and 'focus on urgent care' / 'individual's competence' (50.0% each). More females (30.0%) than males (23.0%) had ever received career counseling, but all students desired it.

CONCLUSIONS:

Significant gender differences exist in specialty choices and factors influencing these choices amongst these students. All want career counseling.

PMID:
22873698
PMCID:
PMC3570365
DOI:
10.1186/1472-6920-12-72
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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