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Year : 2007  |  Volume : 32  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 217-218

Career aspirations and apprehensions regarding medical education among first year medical students in Delhi

Department of Community Medicine, Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi - 110 002, India

Date of Submission13-May-2006

Correspondence Address:
Anita Nath
K3/53 DLF City 2, Gurgaon, Haryana - 122 002
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0970-0218.36835

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How to cite this article:
Lal P, Malhotra C, Nath A, Malhotra R, Ingle G K. Career aspirations and apprehensions regarding medical education among first year medical students in Delhi. Indian J Community Med 2007;32:217-8

How to cite this URL:
Lal P, Malhotra C, Nath A, Malhotra R, Ingle G K. Career aspirations and apprehensions regarding medical education among first year medical students in Delhi. Indian J Community Med [serial online] 2007 [cited 2022 May 19];32:217-8. Available from: https://www.ijcm.org.in/text.asp?2007/32/3/217/36835

Medical profession is one of the most highly rated professions among the students mainly due to the fact that it offers prospects of a financially as well as a socially satisfying career. To enter into this profession, a student is required to clear a tough competitive examination. Those who clear the entrance exam, are then required to undergo a rigorous five year training in a medical school followed by an year of internship before they earn their degree. The recent trend towards specialization has made the study period even longer. The decision to choose medicine as a career is therefore not easy one and not all students who are academically excellent may seek entry into medicine. These students have a wide range of family background. They also have certain apprehensions in their mind when they join medical school. This study was therefore conducted to find out the socio-demographic profile of first year medical students, the reasons for joining medical profession, the apprehensions about medical college life and their aspirations after completing graduate study.

   Materials and Methods Top

This was a cross-sectional study conducted among first year medical students of Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi at the time of their entry into the medical college, during their pre-admission medical check-up. All 191 students coming for their medical check-up participated in the study. This included 174 MBBS (91.1%) and 17 BDS students (8.9%). A self-administered semi-structured questionnaire eliciting information about their socio-demographic profile, reasons for opting for medicine as a profession, career aspirations and their apprehensions about life in a medical college was administered to them. The data was analyzed using MS Excel 2000 and EpiInfo. Chi-square and Fishers exact tests were applied and a P value of <0.05 was taken to be statistically significant.

   Results Top

A total of from 189 out of 191 students (98.9%) filled the questionnaire completely. Two students had not given information about the reasons for joining medical professions, apprehensions and the career aspirations.

[Table - 1] shows the socio-demographic profile of 191 study subjects. The mean age of students was 18.03 0.96 years. Majority of the students were between 18 -19 years of age (60.7%) and residents of Delhi (67.5%). In majority of the cases, father (86.4%) or mother (73.3%) had college education. In 21.5% cases, father was a doctor and in 11.0% cases, mother was also a doctor. None of the study subjects was married.

Maximum number of students had cleared the entrance exam in their first attempt (47.1%), followed by 41.4% in second attempt, 9.9% in third attempt and 1.6% in their fourth attempt. The students whose father or mother had college education had significantly lesser number of attempts (≤ two) to clear the medical entrance examination as compared to those students whose father (p= 0.006, Fisher's exact test) or mother ( P =0.00, Chi-square test) had just gone to school.

The most common reason of opting for medical profession was to serve the sick and society (74.6%). However, 48.7% of the students had joined the profession considering the high status of a doctor in the society. Other reasons included father's will (16.9%), to earn money (13.8%) and mother's will (10.1%). No apprehension about medical college life was expressed by 46.0% of the students, whereas, 35.4% feared ragging. Many of the students (21.7%) were apprehensive about the long period of study course and 16.9% students had fear of too much study. Majority of the students (83.5%) wanted to go for post-graduation after completing MBBS/ BDS, whereas, 14.3% wanted to join a government service and 11.6% wanted to go abroad.

   Discussion Top

Although, service to the society (74.6%) was the main reason for joining medical profession, the attraction for the prestige and social status of the doctor (48.7%) and parental expectations were also the reasons cited by some of the students. Harth [1] in Australia, Razali [2] in Malasyia and Perara [3] in Sri Lanka also found similar reasons for entering medical school in their study. The observations in current study also revealed that factors like parents with higher education and presence of doctors in the family may have played an important role in determining the choice of career and thus acted as facilitators in entering the medical college. It is encouraging to note that the main reason for joining medical career was the interest in service to humanity and it is hoped that the same fervor to help others would persist throughout their careers. On the other hand, since, the main interest was service rather than an interest in medical science itself, it is not surprising that none of the student has expressed a desire to pursue medical research as a career option after completion of graduation.

In the present study, 83.5% of the students wanted to go for post-graduation in order to achieve specialization after completing their graduation. Similar findings had been reported by Perara, [3] where 84% of the first year medical students and Odusanva [4] in Nigeria where 67% of the students wanted to go for specialization after completion of graduate studies. This could be a function of the role models to which they are exposed or due to the higher social and financial status of specialists as compared to general practitioners, thus leading to an increased number of students opting for specialization every year.

In the present study, only 14.3% of the students intended to join a government service whereas 11.6% of the students preferred to go abroad. The loss of interest in government service is an alarming observation as a large number of students were opting for private practice. This may obviously be due to the promise of greater money in private sector as compared to government sector. Therefore, government should not only make provisions for better salaries and other incentives but also provide an attractive environment for work along with other facilities.

The present study reveals that about 54% of the students felt some kind of apprehension while entering medical school. For example, 21.7% of the students were apprehensive regarding the long period of study course. A study conducted by Kumaraiah [5] at St. Johns Medical College, Bangalore way back in 1969 had also reported that the length of the course was a major reason for doubt, in the minds of fresh candidates (24.5%), regarding the choice of medicine as a right career. This increasingly calls for a need to provide some sort of an orientation session and counseling by a trained psychologist at the time of entry into medical college. There is also a need to reframe the medical curricula so as to make it less strenuous and more students friendly, thereby reducing the dread of medicine from the minds of students.

   References Top

1.Harth SC, Biggs JS, Thong YH. Mature-age entrants to medical school: A controlled study of sociodemographic characteristics, career choice and job satisfaction. Med Educ 1990;24:488-98.  Back to cited text no. 1  [PUBMED]  
2.Razali SM. Medical school entrance and career plans of Malaysian medical students. Med Educ 1996;30:418-23.  Back to cited text no. 2  [PUBMED]  
3.Perara KM, Dharamarajan AM, Chandrika P. Career decisions and motivational influences among medical students: A view from Sri Lanka. Indian J Med Educ 1981;20:68-73.  Back to cited text no. 3    
4.Odusanva OO, Alakija W, Akesode FA. Socio-demographic profile and career aspirations of medical students in a new medical school. Niger Postgrad Med J 2000;7:112-5.  Back to cited text no. 4    
5.Kumaraiah V, Monteiro L, Adiseshiah WTV, Sharma KN. The career aims of medical students. Indian J Med Educ 1972;11:1-7.  Back to cited text no. 5    


  [Table - 1]

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  2007 - Indian Journal of Community Medicine | Published by Wolters Kluwer - Medknow
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