Choice of Dental Specialties among dental students and associated influencing and motivating factors in Saudi Arabia

Nora Saleh Alnomay, Bader Aldebassi, Abdulaziz Dawood Alghomlas, Fahad Ibrahim Alawad, Waleed Mutair Almutari

Abstract


Background: Healthcare providers including dentists reserve a significant role in the society. The oral health of a community mainly relies on dentists and specialists in the field. Therefore, the choice of dentistry as a career and selecting specialty and continuing Postgraduate Dental Education is an important milestone in an individual's life which ultimately affects his social status and financial stability. The aim of this study is to investigate motivating factors that influence and inspire students in choosing a dental specialty.
Methodology: A cross sectional study was conducted on a sample of 600 dental students and graduates from different universities in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The data was collected through an online questionnaire, disseminated on Twitter with convenience sampling technique while Cluster simple random technique was used for targeting colleges. Data was analyzed using SPSS version 16. Arithmetic mean and standard deviation was calculated for quantitative data, chi-square and Fischer Exact test to compare categorical data. For comparing numerical data, Mann-Whitney test, Kruskal -Wallis test, student`s t-test and ANOVA test were used. Additionally, factor analysis and regression analysis were used to group common items and identify their effect after controlling other predictor variables.
Results: The results of the study show that many of the students want to pursue their career in dental subspecialty from an international program however, prefer to work as a civilian dentist in the public sector. Oral maxillofacial surgery was the most wanted career choice followed by Orthodontic, dentofacial orthopedics, restorative and cosmetic surgery in males and pediatric surgery in females. For these, salary aspects and cost of living expenses were the influencing factors. Moreover, six factors for motivation were obtained and significance was achieved against a variety of socio-demographic factors including job and financial security, family encouragement, inspiration from other people, and flexibility in working hours.
Conclusion: Dentistry is a well-known field of science and dentists require appropriate opportunities and guidance for enhancement of their career whether academic education or clinical sub specialty. Therefore, keeping in view the factors which motivates and influences their decision of choosing dental career, professional development guidance and mentoring should be provided at the university level.

Keywords


Dental students; oral maxillofacial surgery; influencing factors; factor analysis; Riyadh.

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