The objective of the study is the identification of the specialty intentions, the reason behind that choice and the preferred practice location of the study population.
A cross sectional study was conducted using a self administered questionnaire distributed at the end of the academic year 1994. One hundred and forty nine (149) male and 104 female graduating medical students representing the four medical colleges in Saudi Arabia were included
The four major clinical specialties were selected by more than half of the students; Internal Medicine (17%), Surgery(16%), Paediatrics (14%) and Obstetrics (11%). Twenty seven percent were not sure of their future career choice. Primary health care was chosen by only 1.6% of the students. More men chose Surgery but more women chose Obstetrics and Ophthalmology.
“Financial incentives”, “no night duties”, “social reasons” and “less responsibilities” were the less frequently mentioned reasons for career choice. The qualifications in view were mostly Canadian Board for 49% of the students and Arab Board for 48% of them. The most frequently preferred locations for postgraduate training were Saudi Arabia (56%) and Canada (40%). The majority intended to practice in hospitals (90%) and in cities (85%).
The current drastic deficiency of trained Saudi Family Physicians will continue unless targeted strategies to produce more generalists are undertaken.