Wierenga, Andrea M.; Branday, Joseph M. ; Simeon, D. T. ; Pottinger, Audrey M. ; Brathwaite, B.
Author Affiliation, Ana.
Department of Surgery, Radiology, Anaesthesia and Intensive Care
Motivation for and Concerns About Entering a Medical Programme
West Indian Medical Journal
Date of Publication
The motivation for and concerns about studying medicine and future career plans of students at the Faculty of Medical Sciences, The University of the West Indies (UWI), were studied using a cross-sectional survey that included Year 1 medical students at both the Mona (Jamaica) and St Augustine (Trinidad and Tobago) medical schools of the UWI. The data were collected using a self-administered questionnaire containing structured questions on demographics and family background, motivation for and concerns about studying medicine and future career preferences. A total of 193 students took part in the study, 103 from Mona and 90 from St Augustine (88% response rate). Seventy per cent of the students were between 18 to 22 years of age with 59% being females. The highest rated motives for studying medicine were the 'opportunity for working with people' and an 'interest in human biology'. Female students scored significantly higher for the motive of an 'opportunity for working with people', while males rated the 'social prestige/status' significantly higher. The greatest concerns of the students were 'fear of failure' and 'contracting diseases'. The female students had a greater concern for dealing with the long hours involved in medical training than their male counterparts. Surgical specialties (43%), family medicine (38%) and paediatrics (34%) were the top choices of the students for future specialty and more women than men chose obstetrics. Although the motives that students have reported are varied, there was a reasonable spread of desirable motives. This study provides a baseline for observing possible changes as students advance through medical training. A programme of study that strives to maintain these well-placed motives while providing opportunities for dealing with the concerns of the students will assist in creating caring, empathetic physicians for the Caribbean.....