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Clinics

Print version ISSN 1807-5932On-line version ISSN 1980-5322

Abstract

MILLAN, Luiz Roberto et al. What is behind a student's choice for becoming a doctor?. Clinics [online]. 2005, vol.60, n.2, pp.143-150. ISSN 1980-5322.  https://doi.org/10.1590/S1807-59322005000200011.

PURPOSE: To determine the reasons for choosing the medical profession by interviewing freshmen medical students from the Faculty of Medicine, University of São Paulo and investigating their socio-economic and psychological profiles, as well as to determine whether there are gender differences. METHOD: One hundred and sixty three freshmen medical students answered a questionnaire regarding their socio-economical profile. Of those, 30 female and 30 male students underwent a face-to-face interview regarding the career choice, the Thematic Apperception Test (TAT) and the 16 Personality Factor Questionnaire (16 PF). The results were analyzed qualitatively and by Mann-Whitney, c2, Fisher's Exact, and rp coefficient tests. RESULTS: Most students were middle class, catholic, and had physicians in their families. Students of both genders had made an: early choice of the medical career and a persistence in taking exams many times, even after being discouraged. They also showed an awareness of the difficulties and limitations in developing their careers. The study revealed a strong valuation of the humanistic aspects of medicine; openness to new experiences; a deep personal identification with the choice of profession; a critical need for fulfillment in their careers; and conscious and unconscious desires to help people and be recognized for their usefulness, without being narcissistic. Female students were more sensitive (P <.001) and less imaginative (P = .005) than male students, who were more utilitarian and less grounded; female students tended to present greater emotional maturity while male students presented a greater tendency towards competition, and were more ambitious. CONCLUSIONS: Students of both genders have similar socio-economical profiles and features regarding their motivations for choosing the medical profession. Slight differences were found regarding some psychological aspects.

Keywords : Medical students; Personality; Career choice; Gender; Education.

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