Objective: To explore the fourth year medical student's knowledge regarding anaesthesia as a specialty, their attitude towards anaesthesia as a career choice and the effect of clinical clerkship on these.
Methods: This survey was conducted in the Department of Anaesthesia of a university medical centre in a developing country. One hundred and fifty year four medical students rotating in anaesthesia were enrolled. They were asked to fill a structured questionnaire before (pre) and after (post) their anaesthesia rotation. The questionnaire sought information on their perception of anaesthesia as a specialty, role of anaesthetists clerkship duration, and reasons for considering or not considering anaesthesia.
Results: Prior to anaesthesia clerkship 12 students (8%) included anaesthesia in their first three career choices (2 as first preference). Post clerkship 36 (24%) included it in their first 3 career choices (3 as first preference). There was a change in perception of specialty for 57 participants.
Conclusion: The findings support the positive influence of anaesthesia clerkship on changing the attitude of medical students towards anaesthesia specialty in a developing country with shortage of anaesthesia personnel.