Freshmen versus interns' specialty interests

Arch Iran Med. 2010 Nov;13(6):509-15.


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine career preferences of medical students at the time of entering medical school compared with interns who were graduating; and to determine what factors influence the choice of a special discipline as a career.

Methods: A cross-sectional, questionnaire-based survey study involving freshmen and interns at Tehran University of Medical Sciences was conducted in 2006 - 2007. Respondents anonymously completed a specialties questionnaire developed by Feifel et al. The questionnaire was translated into Persian (Farsi) and several items were modified based on the circumstances.

Results: The response rate was 91 (73%) among freshmen and 137 (77%) among interns. Forty-six freshman students (50%) and 71 interns (51.8%) indicated that they had not developed a strong decision about any particular field of medicine and needed more time. The preferred specialties among freshmen were surgery and internal medicine; whereas graduating students were more interested in "other specialties". There was no significant difference between pediatrics, gynecology, psychiatry, and general practice among the two groups. There was a significant difference in rating when it came to "anticipated income", "prestige" and "helping patients" of which interns were less interested compared to freshmen in these three areas.

Conclusion: Approximately one-half of the medical students were unclear about their future goals. The experience of medical school may play a role in diminishing students' interest in surgery and internal medicine as prospective careers.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Career Choice*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency*
  • Male
  • Medicine*
  • Students, Medical*