Future career plans of final year medical students in medical schools of southeast Nigeria: implications for policy
Background: The doctor population ratio in Nigeria is low when compared with advanced countries. The study was designed to determine the future career plans of final year medical students in medical schools of southeast Nigeria and its policy implications.
Methods: This was a descriptive cross-sectional study. All final year medical students in six medical schools of southeast Nigeria who were willing to participate were included in the study. Questionnaire was self-administered.
Results: The response rate was 86.7% and 457 medical students participated in the study. The mean age of respondents was 25.5±2.9 years and 57.1% were male. Majority of the students, 89.5% intend to pursue specialist medical training after graduation and the highest proportion, 47.9% preferred to specialize in Nigeria while 32.8% opted for countries outside Africa. On choice of sector, 35.2% wanted to combine public and private practice while 24.9% wanted to lecture in medical schools. Majority, 67.6% planned to live and work in Nigeria after specialization.
Conclusion: Majority of the students preferred specialist training after graduation with a preference for Nigeria. Also, majority planned to settle and work in Nigeria after specialist training. There is the need to meet the expectations of these students and this will necessitate increasing the Residency training opportunities in Nigeria and plans to retain the doctors willing to practice in Nigeria after training. The students should consider going into joint ventures and use that as means of reducing the number of people going out of the country every year for specialist medical treatment.
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