Table of Contents  
ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2013  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 114-117

Career in dentistry: By choice or chance-reasons for choosing dentistry among the first-year dental students of a college in India


1 Department of Public Health Dentisty, People's College of Dental Sciences and Research Centre, People's University, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India
2 Department of Public Health Dentisty, A B Shetty Memorial Institute of Dental Sciences, Nitte University, Deralakatte, Mangalore, Karnataka, India
3 Department of Intern, A B Shetty Memorial Institute of Dental Sciences, Nitte University, Deralakatte, Mangalore, Karnataka, India

Date of Web Publication3-Jan-2014

Correspondence Address:
H V Amith
Department of Public Health Dentistry, People's College of Dental Sciences and Research Centre, People's University, Bhanpur, Bhopal - 462 037, Madhya Pradesh
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0975-8844.124256

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  Abstract 

Objective: To determine the factors that lead to the choice of dentistry as an occupation among the first-year dental students in a private dental college in Mangalore, Karnataka, India. Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional survey of 100 first year Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) students was carried out using a self-administered questionnaire. The questionnaire consisted of total eight close-ended questions, which included demographic (age and gender) and career choice-related items. Data was collected, analyzed, and was represented as numbers and percentage. Results: The response rate was 100%. Majority of the students (80%) chose dentistry as a professional career as compared to the 20% who got in by chance. About 72% of them chose dentistry because of their interest, 13% because they were unable to procure a seat in medicine and 10% due to family influence. Majority of them (85%) had undergone career guidance courses in school and were told about various career options. On completion of their undergraduate course in dentistry, 73% preferred to pursue post-graduation and 23% desired to establish private practice. Conclusions: The first years of A. B. Shetty Memorial Institute of Dental Sciences, Mangalore have chosen dentistry as a professional career mostly due to their personal interest and influence of family and friends.

Keywords: Career, dentistry, profession


How to cite this article:
Amith H V, D’Cruz AM, Jasil M, Mansor MM, Antony NA, Devi NG, Aziz NZ, Shetty SD. Career in dentistry: By choice or chance-reasons for choosing dentistry among the first-year dental students of a college in India. J Orofac Sci 2013;5:114-7

How to cite this URL:
Amith H V, D’Cruz AM, Jasil M, Mansor MM, Antony NA, Devi NG, Aziz NZ, Shetty SD. Career in dentistry: By choice or chance-reasons for choosing dentistry among the first-year dental students of a college in India. J Orofac Sci [serial online] 2013 [cited 2020 Feb 23];5:114-7. Available from: http://www.jofs.in/text.asp?2013/5/2/114/124256


  Introduction Top


'Destiny is decided'! No doubt about it but the almighty has given us wisdom and knowledge to share and apply in a particular circumstance. One such difficult circumstance in this race of uncertain life (as we perceive) is choosing a career and particularly in tertiary education. This is very true if one does not have the knowledge and solution to a particular circumstance in front of them, invariably increasing the level of uncertainty.

Dental education is the institution whereby future dental health professionals become equipped with the knowledge and training necessary to meet the oral health needs of the public. [1] All the students entering the dental profession can be divided into two categories-"Dentistry by choice", where they were interested in taking up the profession, and "Dentistry by chance", where they were forced to take up the profession. Motives for choosing a career are complex and the choice of dentistry as a career is no exception. Various studies have been conducted to study motives for choosing dentistry as a carrier option. Many factors may enter into deciding on a career choice. These include factors related to working conditions and financial rewards, security and status, nature of occupation, working with people, use of personal or manual skills, and interest in science and research. [2],[3],[4],[5]

Students' motivations for choosing a career in the health professions are of great interest for educators and admission committees. Students' motivations for entering dentistry, as well schools' requirements and selection processes, vary considerably between countries and even within a single country. [3] In general, parents, relatives, friends, teachers, and counsellors affect the student's decision. The choice of career is a critical discussion that has an obvious impact on future life pattern. It is also important to understand the priorities of those who are choosing to study dentistry. [4] It has also been suggested that having an insight into the motivations of those contemplating dentistry as a career may assist in the evaluation of dental curricula. A better understanding of students' reasons for entering the dental profession may facilitate a fruitful interaction between a student and teacher. [5] Understanding the reasons for choosing dentistry as a profession will also be useful in bridging the gap between the facilitator and the students, so that the course delivery is more acceptable to them. The duration of undergraduate training for Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) in India is 4 years and 1 year of compulsory rotatory internship as prescribed by the Dental Council of India, the regulatory body for dental education.

The aim of our study was to determine the factors that led to the choice of dentistry as an occupation among the first-year dental students in a private dental college in Mangalore, Karnataka, India.


  Materials and Methods Top


The study sample included all the first-year students of A. B. Shetty Memorial Institute of Dental Sciences, Mangalore, Karnataka, India admitted during the year 2011-2012. Ethical approval was obtained from the Institutional Ethical Committee. Students were informed about the study. Participation was voluntary and students willing to participate were included in the study.

The research instrument was a self-designed questionnaire adapted from previous studies, which students answered in a class room at the beginning of their first-year BDS course.

Survey instrument

The questionnaire consisted of total eight close-ended questions which included demographic (age and gender) and career choice-related items. Questions on career choice included various motives to enter in to the specialty, ranging from, financial stability, prior interest, and knowledge of the prospects of subject to current status and interest in the subject and perceptions and plans of the students pertaining to their career in foreseeable future.

Statistical analysis

Test - retest was used to check the reliability and internal consistency of the questionnaire before the study. The results thus obtained were subjected to statistical analysis. Cronbach's alpha value of 0.86 suggested good internal consistency of the questionnaire.

The data was entered into Microsoft Excel for Windows 2007 and analyzed using statistical package SPSS 16.0 (SPSS Inc., Chicago, IL, USA). Descriptive analysis was carried out and was represented as numbers, mean, and standard deviation according to the gender. Pearson's chi square test was used to determine the significance across the genders. Significance was assessed at 5% level of significance.


  Results Top


The response rate was 100% (n = 100) [Table 1] shows the gender distribution of the subjects. There were 70 female and 30 male students. [Table 2] shows the gender wise response to the questions asked. Majority of the students (80%) chose dentistry as a professional career as compared to the 20% who got in by chance. About 72% of them chose dentistry because of their interest, 13% because they were unable to procure a seat in medicine and 10% due to family influence. Around 46% of the students felt that dentistry could help them serve people, 20% felt that it would help them economically, 18% felt that dentistry was a prestigious career. While prestige was a priority among the male participants, helping others was the intention for choosing dentistry among the female subjects. About 16% of the students chose dentistry because of all of the above mentioned reasons. Half of the study sample (50%) felt that dentistry suited them as a career because it is an art and science, 27% because they were good at interaction and 17% because of good hand skills. Majority of the students were aware that dentistry is not only confined to dental treatment of tooth problems and improving aesthetics but also the surgical correction of maxillofacial anomalies. Majority of them (85%) had under gone career guidance courses in school and were told about various career options. On completion of their undergraduate course in dentistry, 73% would like to pursue post-graduation and 23% wished to establish private practice. [Table 3] provides information about the gender wise mean and standard deviation scores of the study subjects. The difference in the response among males and females was significant only for the question number 3.
Table 1: Gender distribution of the study subjects

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Table 2: Responses of study participants to the questions

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Table 3: Mean and standard deviation score of the participants according to gender

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  Discussion Top


The present study revealed that more than one third of the participants' were interested in dentistry and chose it as their career whereas others opted this branch either because of parental influence or because they were not able to procure a seat in medicine. Similar results were obtained in the studies conducted by Al-Bitar et al., [2] Halissey et al.,[6] and Skelly et al. [7]

Nearly half of the study participants' felt they could serve people through dentistry and only few of them felt that dentistry would help them economically or would gain them name and fame. This finding was in contrast to the study conducted by Umesh et al.,[8] on Indian students and Crossley et al.,[9] where majority of the respondents chose dentistry for name and fame because they perceived that it provides a financially lucrative, contained career in health care, with professional status, job security, and the opportunity to work flexibly. A study by Lawson [10] suggested that many dental students perceived dentistry to be of inferior professional status than medicine. This might be due to the general thinking that medical students enjoy higher prestigious social status.

Investigating the views and professional perspectives of health students contributes to a better understanding of how they direct their studies during the academic period, plan their career, guide their interpersonal relationships, and determine the role they play in society. In a broader sense, such investigations may also be useful to subsidize the planning and evaluation processes in undergraduate health education and health care services, as these issues may influence institutional curriculum, teaching processes, and the profiles of future professionals.

The first year BDS students of A. B. Shetty Memorial Institute of Dental Sciences, Mangalore have chosen dentistry as a professional career mainly due to their personal interest and influence of family and friends. Most of the students are happy with their current decision and consider pursuing a post-graduate degree or would like to practice. They acknowledge that dentistry as a career; requires good hand skills and ability to communicate with patients. Dentistry as a career provides a wide range of opportunities for students both on a clinical and research fields.

 
  References Top

1.Rupp JK, Jones DL, Seale NS. Dental students' knowledge about careers in academic dentistry. J Dent Educ 2006;70:1051-60.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.Al-Bitar ZB, Sonbol HN, Al-Omari IK. Reasons for choosing dentistry as a career by Arab dental students. Eur J Dent Educ 2008;12:247-51.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.Aguiar CM, Pessoa MA, Câmara AC, Perrier RA, de Figueiredo JA. Factors involved in the choice of dentistry as an occupation by pernambuco dental students in Brazil. J Dent Educ 2009;73:1401-7.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.Patel D, Saiyed MH. Reasons for choosing dentistry as a career: A study of first year dental students, India. J Int Oral Health 2009;1:10-9.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.Bernabe E, Icaza JL, Delgado-Angulo EK. Reasons for choosing dentistry as a career: A study involving male and female first-year students in Peru. Eur J Dent Educ 2006;10:236-41.  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.Hallisey J, Hanningan A, Ray N. Reasons for choosing dentistry as a career - A survey of dental students attending a dental school in Ireland during 1998-99. Eur J Dent Educ 2000;4:77-81.  Back to cited text no. 6
    
7.Skelly AM, Flemming GJ. Perceptions of a dental career among successful applicants for dentistry compared with those of fifth year dental students. Prim Dent Care 2002;9:41-6.  Back to cited text no. 7
    
8.Umesh K, Chavan S, Singh S. Dentistry by choice or chance. J Indian Assoc Public Health Dent 2011;17 (Suppl II):662-5.  Back to cited text no. 8
    
9.Crossley ML, Mubarik A. A comparative investigation of dental and medical students' motivation towards career choice. Br Dent J 2002;193:471-3.  Back to cited text no. 9
    
10.Lawson WR. The choice of dentistry as a career. N Z Dent J 1976;72:155-8.  Back to cited text no. 10
    



 
 
    Tables

  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3]



 

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