Career choice of anaesthetists in a department of anaesthesiology at a tertiary institution in South Africa
Background: Choosing a career in anaesthesiology depends on factors that are inherent to the profession as well as factors related to the individual. Awareness of these factors is necessary for recruitment based on the needs of the specialty and the expectations of the individual.
Methods: A prospective, contextual, descriptive study design was conducted using convenience sampling. A self-administered questionnaire was used to describe the factors associated with choosing anaesthesiology as a career. This questionnaire was obtained from the USA and was modified for the South African context. It was used with permission from the original authors. The questionnaire was completed by anaesthetists at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. The results of the questionnaire were described as categorical data and chi-squared tests were used for comparisons. A p-value < 0.05 was considered statistically significant.
Results: Anaesthesiology was chosen as a career by 38.5% of participants while working as a medical officer. The main factor that influenced this choice was dealing with one patient at a time, which was chosen by more than half of the participants. Of the 130 participants, 94.6% were satisfied with their career choice and 89.2% would choose anaesthesiology as a career again.
Conclusion: The three-to-five-year period after medical school is crucial for doctors to develop an interest in anaesthesiology. The main factor that influenced them to choose anaesthesiology as a career, was dealing with one patient at a time and most participants were satisfied with their career choice of anaesthesiology. This information can guide recruitment into anaesthesiology, especially among medical students. This study provides a foundation for further research to investigate these factors, as well as possible reasons for gender differences (which were not explored in this study).
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