Future choice of specialty among students in a Caribbean medical school

31 May 2019

BACKGROUND: The medical specialities chosen by medical students for their careers play an important part in the development of health care services. The study was designed to examine the perception of medical students to clinical specialty while in the preclinical school. METHODOLOGY: A cross-sectional study was done among all the preclinical students using a structured questionnaire. The questions explored the demographic data, generic factors considered as important in their specialty choice as well as factors that influence the students' attractiveness to various medical specialities. The study was conducted among medical students of Spartan Health Sciences University St. Lucia. RESULTS: Out of 90 questionnaires, 76 were correctly filled, producing response rate of 93.4%. The ages of respondents were between 19 to 43, with mean age of 25.3. 59.2% male and 39.5% female. Internal medicine was the most attractive specialty with attractive factor with mean of 1.2 and SD of 0.46. The aspects of medicine that interest the students most is diagnosis and treatment of diseases; 50 (65.8%), followed by interpersonal interaction with patients; 44 (57.9%) while the least attractive aspect is research; 11 (23.7%). CONCLUSION: Our study showed that few students are interested in basic biomedical research; hence need to address this apathy in the medical curriculum.