Introduction: Obtaining a place in an Irish medical school is extremely competitive, a situation mirrored in many other countries. We aimed to determine the factors influencing school students in deciding to study medicine in university. We further determined what level of interest exists in pursuing a surgical career after completion of medical school.
Methods: The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland hosts an annual "Introduction to Medicine" programme for senior school children. Attendees were surveyed using a Likert scale to examine the factors influencing the group in choosing to study medicine, and pursue surgery as their ultimate career choice.
Results: A total of 128 completed the survey, giving a response rate of 100%. The opportunity to help others was most the most influential factors cited by students (97%). Males were significantly more likely to have an interest in a career in surgery rather than medicine ( p = 0.003), and ranked "financial reward" ( p = 0.036) as a more significant factors in influencing career choice than did females.
Conclusions: A clear understanding of these factors influencing our students in their career choices and a strategy of recruitment based on these is imperative in order to optimize recruitment of students most suited to working as doctors. (C) 2010 Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (Scottish charity number SC005317) and Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.