H D Tennakoon, A K Vidanapathirana, S Sutharsan
AL 1999 batch of students, Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo
Objective: To identify post intern career preferences and factors influencing their selection in fourth year medical students of the University of Colombo.
Design and setting: A descriptive cross sectional study was carried out among 200 fourth year medical students of the AL 99 batch of the Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo from 20th May 2005 to 11th July 2005. A self-administered questionnaire was used for data collection. Data analysis was done using Microsoft Excel and SPSS software programs.
Results: According to the level of preference scores computed for each career preference, General Medicine, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, General Practice/Family Medicine, General Surgery and Neurology were areas/disciplines with the highest levels of preference among students. Community Medicine, Biochemistry, Geriatrics, Medical Administration and Microbiology had the lowest preference scores. Among factors which influenced the career preferences, personal factors scored the highest percentage score (35.03%), followed by factors within the hospital and clinical appointment (36.33%), occupational factors (29.5%), factors within the medical school (20.84%) and factors associated with family and relatives(7.6%).
Conclusion: Contrary to the popular belief that career choices among the medical professionals are made after internship, this study reveals that they may be made within and even before entry to medical school. These choices are influenced by factors both within and outside the faculty.
Medical careers begin by encompassing a broad range of study, ultimately narrowing down to specialization and sub specialization. Relatively little is known about transition from the „medical student‟ who is