Medical Training Experience and Expectations Regarding Future Medical Practice of Medical Students at the University of Cape Verde
Keywords:Cape Verde, Career Choice, Education, Medical, Students, Surveys and Questionnaires
Introduction: Cape Verde is a small insular developing state. Its first experience of undergraduate medical education began in October 2015. The purpose of this paper is to describe and analyze the professional expectations and profile of the first class of medical students at the University of Cape Verde.
Material and Methods: A piloted, standardized questionnaire, with closed and open-ended questions, was distributed to registered medical students attending classes on the day of the survey. All data were analyzed using SPSS.
Results: Students decided to study medicine in their mid-teens with relatives and friends having had significant influence over their decisions. Other major reasons for choosing medical training include “to take care of other people”, “fascination for the subject matters of medicine” and “I have always wanted to”. The degree of feminization of the student population is extremely high (20/25; 80.0%). Medical students are in general satisfied with the training program, and have expectations that the training received will allow them to be good professionals. Nevertheless, they consider the course too theoretical. Medical students know that this represents an opportunity for them to contribute to public welfare. Nonetheless, their expectations are to combine public sector practice with private work. Medical students come mostly from Santiago Island where the Capital of the Country is located. They still do not know about their future area of specialization. But all of those who want to specialize want to do so abroad. They mostly expect to follow hospital careers rather than health administration or family and community medicine.
Discussion: This study contributes to the growing body of knowledge about medical students’ difficulties and expectations regarding medical schools or curriculums in lusophone countries. The decision to invest in the training of local physicians is justified by the need to be less dependent on foreigners. Local postgraduate medical training programs are already considered a priority for the immediate future.
Conclusion: Cape Verde is pursuing a bold strategy to deal with a shortage of medical doctors. The problems experienced by medical students provide an important insight to help the new medical school to provide a better learning environment for students. The fact that students are not sure about their future area of specialization is an opportunity to guide them towards the areas of the health system with pressing needs. The current feminization of the medical workforce will be sustained with the profile of the present intake, hence the need to take this into account in workforce planning.
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