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Medical students' beliefs and attitudes towards the doctor's role: is management seen as an integral part of the role?

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This study investigates the effects of the new medical school curriculum, compared to the old curriculum, on medical students' attitudes and beliefs towards the role of a doctor and, in particular, management roles. The design of the research is a prospective longitudinal study (incorporating a summative cross-sectional study) based in two medical schools. Data are gathered via a questionnaire from medical students in their first and final years of medical school, pursuing either the old or new curriculum. The final samples for analysis consist of those students from whom data are collected at both points in time in each medical school. The final section of the questionnaire (cross-sectional study) collects data from final-year students only, enabling a summative comparison of the effects of the old and new curricula on medical students' interest in management. The results of the study show great consistency in the effects of the old and new curricula in both medical schools on medical students' reasons for choosing medicine as a career, qualities essential to being a doctor, happiness with their decision to be a doctor, and fears for the future. The old and new curricula differ between the two medical schools in their effects on medical students' interest in management. The findings on medical students' attitudes towards management generally, however, indicate that they are positive about the concept of doctors' involvement in management. Although they may not all necessarily envisage personal involvement, management has not been dismissed from medical students' future career agendas.


Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2002

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