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CAREER ISSUES FOR LEARNERS
Year : 2003  |  Volume : 16  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 286-297

Career Intentions of UNITRA Medical Students and their Perceptions about the Future


Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Transkei, South Africa

Correspondence Address:
Yoswa M Dambisya
School of Health Sciences, University of the North, Private Bag X1106, Sovenga 0727
South Africa
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


Context: The University of Transkei (UNITRA) medical programme follows a problem-based learning and community-based education curriculum. Objective: To gauge the views of UNITRA medical students about their future, and their career intentions. Design: A semi-structured questionnaire on intentions to specialize or not, preferred place of work, overall view of the future, and careers guidance. Findings: The questionnaire was completed by 364 students (87.7% response rate). The sector preferences are 82.3% public, 6.8% university and 10.9% private. Place of work preferences are urban (37%), rural (27%), city (12%) and abroad (8%), while 16% have no preference. Rural preference varies from 48.5% among 1st year students to 5.9% among 6th year students, while urban preference are 26.2% for Year I and 64.7% for Year VI students. 89.8% of respondents intended to specialize, mainly in clinical fields, with the most influential factors in the choice of specialty being interest and challenge. Most students (78%) view the future positively, 13% say it is uncertain, 8% have no idea about the future; and 1% think the future is negative. Frequent reasons cited for a bright future are job-related, personal attitude, sense of achievement, and the type of training. Most students have received little or no career guidance and would like such topics in the curriculum. Conclusion: UNITRA medical students are optimistic about the future. The majority intend to stay in South Africa and work in the public sector, and most of them wish to pursue clinical specialties.


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