Background: The future specialty of choice of interns determine the composition of medical practitioners workforce and the factors that underline this choice needs to be explored to help in healthcare planning and policy formulation for an economically poor country like Nigeria.
Aim: The study aims to examine the factors that influence rotatory interns on their specialty choice with special reference to surgery with the hope that the information obtained might be of help in improving any imbalances in distribution of medical manpower in our country.
Materials and Methods: This is a survey of 126 interns, using an objective pre tested semi structured questionnaire which explores factors influencing specialty choices among interns in three tertiary hospitals in North Central Nigeria, namely, Federal Medical Center, Makurdi, Benue State University Teaching Hospital, Makurdi and Jos University Teaching Hospital, Jos.
Results: The three most popular specialties were Surgery (30.2%), Pediatrics (14.3%) and Obstetrics and Gynecology (14.3%). The least preferred specialty of choice was Family Medicine and Community Medicine at 1.6% each. These choices are determined by natural interest (38.1%), job satisfaction (38.1%), personal convenience (19%), financial rewards (3.2%) and personal aptitude (1.6%). Among the female interns, a possibility of job satisfaction is the most important determinant of specialty choice. Majority of the respondents consider surgery as important and interesting with 32% saying it’s difficult to understand.
Conclusions: Our findings have implication for provision of specialty health care for Nigerians. Health care service delivery planners have to devise means of attracting interns to the less preferred specialty choice.
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