Factors influencing choice of pediatrics as a career among medical students in Kenyan University

Philip Maseghe Mwachaka, Eric Thuo Mbugua


Objective: Achievement of the fourth millennium development goal heavily depends on availability of skilled personnel to implement the set objectives. We aimed at determining factors influencing choice of a pediatric career by medical students in Kenya.
Methods: A cross-sectional survey of 450 medical students from the University of Nairobi-Kenya was undertaken with a questionnaire designed to assess their specialty preferences, timing and factors influencing choice of these careers. Data collected was analyzed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences.
Results: The response rate was 385/450(85.6%). Pediatrics second most preferred specialty after surgery, and was chosen by 50(12.9%) students. Female students had a five-fold increased likelihood of selecting pediatrics. Pediatric career choice was mainly determined by perceived intellectual challenge, presence of a role model and ease of raising a family. Those who had completed clerkship in the specialty reported to be encouraged by the teaching and clinical staff (p=0.006) but found the specialty less prestigious (p=0.030). While none of the men considered gender distribution in this career, 12(30%) women did (p=0.046).
Conclusion: This study reports that paediatrics is populous among female students and the choice of this specialty is influenced by several factors. Understanding these factors may help medical schools’ administrators and faculty plan for future recruitment strategies.

Authors' affiliations

Philip Maseghe Mwachaka, University of Nairobi, Kenya

Eric Thuo Mbugua, University of Nairobi

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Career choice; Pediatrics; Kenya

Cite this article

South African Journal of Child Health 2010;4(3):70-72.

Article History

Date submitted: 2010-05-23
Date published: 2010-10-04

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