Objective: Career preferences of medical trainees have the potential to shape the future of the healthcare
workforce of any nation. This study aimed to determine the factors that influence career choices of
medical students and house officers (interns) in two institutions located in Southwest Nigeria.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was carried out amongst final year medical students and interns in two
medical universities and their corresponding teaching hospitals in Southwest Nigeria. A questionnaire
was used to obtain socio-demographic data, career choices, reasons behind career choices and the
presence and influence of mentorship on career choices. Responses were analyzed using the Statistical
Package for Social Sciences Version 21, and descriptive statistics generated.
Results: Obstetrics & Gynecology and Surgical specialties were the most preferred career choices by the
medical students, while Surgical and Medical specialties were most preferred by the interns. Personal
interest and other personal reasons were the top motivating factors for the career choices amongst the
medical students of both institutions, while personal interest and future job opportunities were the top
reasons for the career choices amongst the interns of both institutions. Mentorship was lacking for most of
the medical students and house officers, except in one of the teaching hospitals, where over half of the
interns had career mentors.
Conclusion: Attention should be paid to the reasons behind career choices, in order to channel efforts
towards making clinical specialties become attractive to young medical trainees, as the future of the health
workforce in the nation depends on it.