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Aust Dent J. 1996 Jun;41(3):198-205.

Choosing dentistry as a career--a profile of entering students (1992) to the University of Sydney, Australia.

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Department of Community Dentistry, Faculty of Dentistry, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.


The present study is an investigation of motives students have for wishing to become dentists. The study population comprised 85 first year dental students of the class of 1992 at the University of Sydney. A questionnaire which sought information on student demography, attitudes to dentistry, and motive rankings was administered. Demographic findings indicated that the majority of students came from countries in the Pacific rim and the male/female ratio was 62 to 38 per cent. Responses to the attitude questionnaire showed that Australian student motives for becoming dentists did not differ from those of students in other countries. The most predominant of these motives was to serve others, to become independent, to enjoy job satisfaction, and to acquire financial security. The least important motives were manual and communication skills, science and knowledge, and surprisingly, status and prestige. To attribute meaning and value to these motives, however, reflects inconsistencies which are expressed as contradictions between motive categories, between items within categories, and between motive categories and motive rankings. When one considers the basis upon which career decisions are made, disparity in the findings may be attributable to a decision-making process that rests on subjective rather than objective criteria.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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