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Open Access Research article

Study motives, career choices and interest in paediatric dentistry among final year dental students in Nigeria

Morenike O Folayan1*, Oyinkan O Sofola2, Mohammad R Khami3, Ayodeji O Esan4, Bamidele O Popoola5, Omolola O Orenuga6, Nkiru Folaranmi7, Taofeek O Ligali8 and Abimbola S Phillips9

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Child Dental Health, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria

2 Department of Preventive Dentistry, University of Lagos, Lagos, Nigeria

3 Research Center for Caries Prevention, Community Oral Health Department, School of Dentistry, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

4 Department of Preventive and Community Dentistry, Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospitals Complex, Ile-Ife, Nigeria

5 Department of Child Oral Health, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria

6 Department of Child Dental Health, University of Lagos, Lagos, Nigeria

7 Department of Child Dental Health, University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus, Nigeria

8 Department of Preventive and Community Dentistry, University of Maiduguri, Maiduguri, Nigeria

9 Department of Community Medicine, Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospitals Complex, Ile-Ife, Nigeria

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BMC Medical Education 2014, 14:130  doi:10.1186/1472-6920-14-130

Published: 2 July 2014

Abstract

Background

Students’ motives for studying Dentistry have been a subject of interest for years because of the potential for understanding the psychological makeup and subsequent job satisfaction for the dentist. It is also useful in identifying expectations of the profession. This study therefore tried to identify study motives and career preferences of dental students especially with respect to the practice of paediatric dentistry.

Methods

This was a cross-sectional study using a self-administered questionnaire. The final year students in six dental schools in Nigeria were required to fill the questionnaire. Students were asked to rank their motives and career preferences on a Likert like scale with points ranging from 0–5 where 0 represented a factor that had no influence on their decision and 5 represented a very influential factor. The underlying dimensions for study motives, career preference, impression about and motive for interest in the practice of paediatric dentistry were identified using factor analysis.

Results

One hundred and seventy nine of 223 students (80.3%) participated in this study. Motives for the practice of dentistry included characteristics of the profession, altruism and intellectual challenges, existence of artistic theme in dentistry and parent’s recommendation. Overall, 67.1% of respondents indicated interest in postgraduate studies and 50.8% were interested in paediatric dentistry practice. The main motives for showing interest in the practice of paediatric dentistry were ‘personal interest, professional interest and interest of significant others in children’, and ‘family influence’. Significantly more males than females were interested in the practice of paediatric dentistry though the motives for interest in the practice of paediatric dentistry did not differ significantly by sex or age.

Conclusion

The non-significant sex difference in the motives for interest in the practice of paediatric dentistry is a possible reflection of changes in strong cultural themes in the motives for career choices in Nigeria.

Keywords:
Study; Motives; Career; Nigeria; Culture; Sex; Paediatric dentistry; Dental students