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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Factors affecting medical students in formulating their specialty preferences in Jordan

Yousef Khader1, Dema Al-Zoubi1, Zouhair Amarin2*, Ahmad Alkafagei1, Mohammad Khasawneh3, Samar Burgan4, Khalid El Salem5 and Mousa Omari1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Public Health, Community Medicine and Family Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Jordan University of Science and Technology, Irbid, Jordan

2 Deprtment of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Faculty of Medicine, Jordan University of Science and Technology, Irbid, Jordan

3 Department of peaediatrics, Faculty of Medicine, Jordan University of Science and Technology, Irbid, Jordan

4 Department of Oral Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Jordan, Irbid, Jordan

5 Department of Neuroscience, Faculty of Medicine, Jordan University of Science and Technology, Irbid, Jordan

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BMC Medical Education 2008, 8:32  doi:10.1186/1472-6920-8-32

Published: 23 May 2008

Abstract

Background

In recent years there has been a growing appreciation of the issues of career preference in medicine as it may affect student learning and academic performance. However, no such studies have been undertaken in medical schools in Jordan. Therefore, we carried out this study to investigate the career preferences of medical students at Jordan University of Science and Technology and determine factors that might influence their career decisions.

Methods

A cross-sectional questionnaire-based survey was carried out among second, fourth and sixth year medical students at the Jordan University of Science and Technology, Irbid, Jordan during the academic year 2006/2007. A total of 440 students answered the questionnaire which covered demographic characteristics, specialty preferences, and the factors that influenced these career preferences. Possible influences were selected on the basis of a literature review and discussions with groups of medical students and physicians. Students were asked to consider 14 specialty options and select the most preferred career preference.

Results

The most preferred specialty expressed by male students was surgery, followed by internal medicine and orthopaedics, while the specialty most preferred by female students was obstetrics and gynaecology, followed by pediatrics and surgery. Students showed little interest in orthopedics, ophthalmology, and dermatology. While 3.1% of females expressed interest in anesthesiology, no male students did. Other specialties were less attractive to most students.

Intellectual content of the specialty and the individual's competencies were the most influential on their preference of specialty. Other influential factors were the "reputation of the specialty", "anticipated income", and "focus on urgent care".

Conclusion

Surgery, internal medicine, pediatrics, and obstetrics and gynaecology were the most preferred specialty preferences of medical students at Jordan University of Science and Technology.