Determinants of undergraduate program choice in two health science fields: does personality influence career choice?

Barbara Adamson, Tanya Covic, Peter Kench, Mitchelle Lincoln

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    Abstract

    One hundred and twelve first year health science students enrolled in medical radiation sciences (n = 76) and speech pathology (n = 36) from the Faculty of Health Sciences, the University of Sydney, participated in a survey designed to determine factors influencing career choice and the role of personality in this process. Findings indicated that the two groups of health science students were similar on major factors explored in our study. In terms of dominant personality types, students from both groups were more likely to be Guardians and Idealists, thereby suggesting that personality does not have an influential role in their career choice. Both groups of students were similar in the reasons influencing their career decision, including interest in working in a health science field, working with and helping others. These reasons were endorsed strongly. The level of knowledge both groups of students possessed regarding their chosen career was similar although on all working dimensions a proportion of students reported no knowledge of this information. Of relevance to the above findings is the fact that 36% of the total sample indicated that they were not enrolled in their first career choice, with the majority of these students selecting a different health science field as their first preference. The implications of these findings for university educators and career advisors are discussed in the paper.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)34-47
    Number of pages14
    JournalFocus on Health Professional Education: A multi-disciplinary journal
    Volume5
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2003

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