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Natl Med J India. 2013 May-Jun;26(3):147-9.

Why does an undergraduate student choose medicine as a career.

Author information

University College of Medical Sciences, Dilshad Garden, Delhi 110095, India. Department of Physiology.
University College of Medical Sciences, Dilshad Garden, Delhi 110095, India. Department of Medicine.
Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh 160012, India. Department of Otolaryngology.



There are more than 44 000 seats in over 350 medical colleges in India for pursuing the MBBS course. This is not enough as we have only 1 doctor for as many as 1953 persons in India. Yet, medicine is not among the top vocations in most career advisories and the best school students do not aspire to be doctors.


This cross-sectional study was done at a tertiary care, teaching hospital in March 2010. Medical students in their second semester were asked to fill an indigenously designed, structured questionnaire, looking at their reasons for joining the course, interpersonal relationships, satisfaction with the curriculum and future prospects following graduation.


The mean (SD) age of the students was 19.2 (0.85) years. Of the 100 students of second semester, 41 had been influenced by a family member in choosing their career. Twelve felt that medicine would give them a chance to serve the society. Forty-six students felt that the expectations they had from the course before joining were not being fulfilled. Nearly one-third of the students (31) stated that they would not choose medicine as a career if given another chance. Further, 19 said that they would still choose a different profession after completing their graduation. Non-fulfilment of expectations from the course was associated with the belief that they would not opt for this course if given a second chance (likelihood ratio 7.12, p=0.008). Students felt that teaching should lay stress on problem-based learning including workshops on stress and time management.


We find that several students do not have a defined career plan and opt for a career in medicine because they are influenced by family members. Some students were dissatisfied with the curriculum and expressed that they would not like to pursue the course if given a second chance.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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