Background: Career advice is an important instrument to help students with the proper specialty selection. The study aims (1) to explore the views of newly graduated doctors in Saudi Arabia about their experience with the current status of career support system during medical training and (2) to identify cross-cultural similarities and differences.
Methods: A cross-sectional design study was conducted using a questionnaire to elicit the responses of participants from newly qualified doctors concerning the availability and significance of career advice. SPSS (version 11.0; Chicago, IL) was used to analyze the data and statistical tests, such as chi-square and unpaired t tests, were used to analyze the observations.
Results: A response rate of 94.7% was obtained. Among this group, 102 were males and 78 were females. Only 53% did receive career advice. The majority of men felt that career advice during medical studies was inadequate, while women were less negative (69% versus 32%; p = 0.0001). Furthermore, men were more disappointed about the possibilities for career advice after graduating than women (34% versus 13%, p = 0.0001).
Conclusions: The results show that only half of newly graduated doctors had received any career advice during medical training. As the health care system cannot afford the potential waste of time and resources for doctors, career guidance should begin in undergraduate training so that the process of thinking about their future career starts longtime before they make their career choice.