Original Research

Specialties preference by gender among medical students at Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University, South Africa

Andiswa Pooe, Samuel T. Ntuli, Sizwe Masango, Aqila Rab, Thiambi Mudau, Pollet Moloko, Sifundo Mtshali
South African Family Practice | Vol 66, No 1 : Part 2| a5858 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/safp.v66i1.5858 | © 2024 Andiswa Pooe, Samuel T. Ntuli, Sizwe Masango, Aqila Rab, Thiambi Mudau, Pollet M. Mantsho, Sifundo Mtshali | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 30 October 2023 | Published: 23 April 2024

About the author(s)

Andiswa Pooe, Department of Haematological Pathology, Faculty of Medicine, Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences, Pretoria, South Africa
Samuel T. Ntuli, Department of Statistical Sciences, Faculty of Science and Technology, Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences, Pretoria, South Africa
Sizwe Masango, Department of Haematological Pathology, Faculty of Medicine, Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences, Pretoria, South Africa
Aqila Rab, Department of Haematological Pathology, Faculty of Medicine, Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences, Pretoria, South Africa
Thiambi Mudau, Department of Haematological Pathology, Faculty of Medicine, Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences, Pretoria, South Africa
Pollet Moloko, Department of Haematological Pathology, Faculty of Medicine, Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences, Pretoria, South Africa
Sifundo Mtshali, Department of Haematological Pathology, Faculty of Medicine, Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences, Pretoria, South Africa

Abstract

Background: To determine the speciality preferences and the gender differences in the choice of speciality among medical students at Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University, South Africa.

Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted among fourth- to sixth-year medical students. A structured self-administered questionnaire was used to collect the data. Data analysis was performed using STATA version 16 (StataCorp, College Station, TX, United States).

Results: A total of 174 students participated (response rate of 74%). Their median age was 23 years with interquartile range of 2 years. More than half (57%) were females. About 83% had no previous qualifications. Most (89%) have shown interest in pursuing specialist training. Surgery, obstetrics and gynaecology and internal medicine were the most selected specialities, while family medicine, ophthalmology, forensic medicine, public health medicine, ear, nose and throat, and accident and emergency medicine were the least preferred. Males were more likely interested in surgery and internal medicine, while females preferred obstetrics and gynaecology.

Conclusion: The majority of the medical students intends to pursue their postgraduate medical training. Even though the results were not statistically significant, there are gender differences in speciality preferences. There is a need to develop and implement career guidance and recruitment plans to deal with specialities with poor recruitment and gender imbalance.

Contribution: To deal with specialties with poor and gender imbalance, career guidance and recruitment plans must be developed and implemented.




Keywords

medical students; gender differences; career preference; speciality choice

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 4: Quality education

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