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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 32  |  Issue : 6  |  Page : 369-372

Perception of pathology as a career among undergraduate medical students

St John's Medical College, Sarjapur Road, Bengaluru 560034, Karnataka, India

Correspondence Address:
Anuradha Ananthamurthy
St John's Medical College, Sarjapur Road, Bengaluru 560034, Karnataka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0970-258X.303617

Background. The choice of a postgraduate specialization in medicine is influenced by many factors. What motivates students to take up pathology as a career option or to reject the same remains unexplored. This study aimed to understand the perceptions of medical students from a college in southern India regarding the role played by pathologists in clinical practice and how this influenced their choice of pathology as a career. Methods. This qualitative study conducted personal interviews with 15 participants (13 undergraduates and 2 postgraduates in pathology) using a semi-structured interview guide. The data were transcribed and thematically analysed. Results. Although most of the participants acknowledged that pathologists play an important role in diagnosis, they were of the view that pathologists have minimal patient contact and do not play the main role in treating patients. They were also of the opinion that the undergraduate course and curriculum in pathology was inadequate in exposing them to the actual practice of pathology. Lower social status and earning potential were also stated as deciding factors in choosing a career in pathology. Pathology residents cited stress-free lifestyle as a motivating factor in choosing pathology as a career. Conclusions. A career in pathology can be rewarding and intellectually stimulating. The fact that a pathologist plays an important role in diagnosis and also patient management must be emphasized in the undergraduate medical curriculum. The medical student will then be able to take an informed decision about his or her career.

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