Perceptions of final-year UKZN medical students about anaesthesia as a specialty choice
AbstractBackground: South Africa suffers from a drastic shortage of anaesthesiologists. This shortage has a major impact on the provision of safe, timeous and appropriate surgery for the population. One factor implicated in this shortage may be the difficulty in appropriate recruitment of trainees. Methods: A questionnaire-based cross-sectional study was conducted among the final-year medical students at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), for the year 2013. Results: At total of 112 final-year medical students participated in the study. The majority (93%) of the medical students would like to specialise in the future. Anaesthesiology ranked fourth in popularity among the specialties presented to the students. The students’ opinion of the key positive attributes of anaesthesiology was that it was interesting (26.8%), mentally challenging (22.3%) and afforded good working hours (18.8%). The key negative attributes of anaesthesiology highlighted by the students were that it was boring (21.4%), stressful (20.5%) and frightening (15.2%). The biggest influence on the medical students’ perceptions of anaesthesiology was the medical school rotation, with the need for longer duration of exposure, highlighted by 24 (21.4%) of the students. Conclusion: The perceptions of medical students concerning anaesthesia are multi-faceted, with the undergraduate anaesthetic rotation viewed as the biggest influence on their perceptions regarding anaesthesia. All anaesthetists should strive to improve the discipline profile, change the misconceptions and enhance the attractiveness of the specialty amongst medical students from foundation level upwards. (Full text available online at www.medpharm.tandfonline.com/ojaa) South Afr J Anaesth Analg 2017; DOI: 10.1080/22201181.2017.1321862
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