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Deciding upon a career within the medical field

PhD ceremony:Ms S. (Sabine) Guntern
When:January 18, 2016
Start:16:15
Supervisor:prof. dr. M.P.C. (Greetje) van der Werf
Co-supervisor:H. (Hanke) Korpershoek, Prof Dr
Where:Academy building RUG
Faculty:Behavioural and Social Sciences
Deciding upon a career within the medical field

The admission procedure for medical programs is a challenging topic. The challenge for universities is to accept those applicants who have the best chances of successfully completing the medical studies and who will also enter the advanced training programs after graduation. The overall goal of this thesis was to explore the impact of non-cognitive factors (personality characteristics, vocational interests, study expectations) in the identification of a sample pool of medical applicants, and investigate the influence of these characteristics on medical students` pre-clinical achievements as well as on their aspired work environment.

The main findings are:

1. Four interpretable subgroups could be identified within the group of medical applicants based on their vocations interest (RIASEC scales), their interests in prestigious professions and their scores on self-discipline, self-efficacy and social activity.

2. The largest differences between the study expectations of medical applicants and the actual study experiences of medical students were found for the study time period, the demand for rote learning, the practical focus of the studies and having enough time to understand the study contents.

3. Non-cognitive factors explained an additional amount of variance in students' academic achievement on top of their pre-university performance (GPA). Self-discipline and self-efficacy showed positive effects and social activity a negative effect.

4. The impact of medical students` vocational interests and their interests in prestigious professions varied as a function of the aspired work environment (family doctor, specialist in a private practice, specialist in a hospital, scientific researcher, and dentist).