Factors Affecting the Choice of Specialty in Medical Students in Iran


avatar Sama Hajizadeh 1 , avatar Hossein Mahmoodian 2 , *

1 Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran

2 Faculty Member (Instructor) of Department of Medical Ethics, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran

How to Cite: Hajizadeh S, Mahmoodian H. Factors Affecting the Choice of Specialty in Medical Students in Iran. J Med Edu. 2018;17(2):e105613. doi: 10.22037/jme.v17i2.21377.


Journal of Medical Education: 17 (2); e105613
Published Online: October 19, 2018
Article Type: Research Article
Received: May 11, 2018
Accepted: May 30, 2018


Background: Medical students are a country’s future physician reservoirs. Knowing how they choose their specialties is the key in enforcing a balance in distributing physicians in different medicalspecialties. The purpose of this study was to determine Shiraz University of Medical Sciences students’ choices of specialty in respective order and to investigate the factors influencing these choices to determine if further education on medical specialties is needed.Methods: Convenience sampling was conducted for this cross-sectional and descriptive-analytic study among 250 of fifth, sixth and seventh-year medical students who were in clinical settings. A questionnaire with confirmed validity and reliability was used. Collected data were analyzed using SPSS software.Results: The students’ mean age was 23.7±1.54 years; 45.6% were men and 54.4% were women.35.2% of them were fifth-year students, 33.6% were externs and 31.2% were interns. Overall students’ favorite specialties were Dermatology (20.4%), Ophthalmology (14.4%) and Orthopedics and Cardiology (10%), respectively. Female students’ choices were Dermatology, Ophthalmology and Cardiology, while male students chose Orthopedics, Ophthalmology and Dermatology. Fifth-year students’ favorite specialties were Internal medicine, Dermatology and General Surgery, while externs and interns chose Dermatology and Ophthalmology. Education level, sex, age, and students’ military status were significantly associated with their specialty choice. “Personal factors” (2.79±0.87) and“economic factors” (2.78±0.99) were deemed the most important factors in choosing their specialties.Conclusion: Based on this study, some specialties, though vital for society, were not favored by medical students which shows the need for further education on these specialties. Respective authorities could use these influencing factors to try to make these specialties more favorable, hence students would be more willing to choose them.


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