It is no lie that becoming a dentist is not easy. Adding to long study course and hours and hours of reading and practicals, the increasing competition in the field of dentistry are some of the important factors one might consider before deciding to pursue dentistry as a career choice.
A study was designed with an aim to evaluate the factors influencing dental students to choose dentistry as career. This study was conducted on 401 dental students from a dental institute. The data was collected using a structured questionnaire consisting of 13 reasons that possibly influenced students' decision to study dentistry.
Top reasons for choosing dentistry as a career:
- Help poor people (95.5%)
- To earn prestige and respect (95.0%)
- Self-interest (94.7%)
- Study of human parts especially teeth (92.8%)
- Making money (77.8%)
- Inspiration from other dentists (63.3%)
- Did not get admission to medicine (MBBS) course (52.1%)
- No doctor in family (51.9%)
- Family members in medical/dental profession(36.9%)
Why is it important to know these influencing factors?
- Changes in these factors over time may warrant major changes for policies in dental education.
- It is crucial on the part of advisors and educators to learn about these influencing factors which may assist them in the assessment of dental education plan and developing a better understanding of students' reasons for opting the dental career that may facilitate an effective interaction between students and teacher.
Most commonly reported reasons were to help poor people to get deep sense of satisfaction and to earn prestige and respect and self-interest in dentistry. This shows that the social esteem linked to practicing dentistry had an influence on the minds of the students in choosing this field. It is interesting to note that a study conducted among dental students of Saudi Arabia and UAE also showed that helping people and earning prestige were most common reasons for opting dental profession.
There were more female participants in the present study as compared to male participants (ratio 3:1). These results reflect that number of female students opting for dentistry has increased in recent years. This can be attributed to the fact that women believe that they can balance their professional career with personal life in dental profession and dentistry offers them flexible working hours to fulfill their domestic demands, achieve professional prestige and respect, financial stability, and serve the community.
The present study shows the changing trends in field of medicine as more number of students are willingly opting for dental profession out of self-interest and with intention to help others rather than choosing MBBS course. This clearly shows the change in attitude of the students which may be beneficial in their future academic performances and will further help in betterment of the patients.
Source : Indian Journal of Dental Research