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Year : 2015  |  Volume : 13  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 67-72

Sociodemographic profile and future expectations of newly entered students in a dental institute in Greater Noida, India

Department of Public Health Dentistry, I.T.S Dental College, Hospital and Research Centre, Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh, India

Date of Web Publication19-Mar-2015

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Vaibhav Motghare
I.T.S Dental College, Hospital and Research Centre, Greater Noida - 201 308, Uttar Pradesh
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2319-5932.153595

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Introduction: Dentistry is one of the most reputed professions all over the world and is becoming a fastest growing career choice for students. Thus, it is necessary to know reasons for choosing dentistry as a career and their future expectations. Aim: The aim was to obtain information about sociodemographic profile, influencing and motivating factors for a career choice and to know future expectations of 1 st year students enrolled in a private dental institute in India. Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted by distributing pretested structured questionnaire to 100 1 st year students enrolled in the Institute. The overall response rate was 93%. Statistical analysis was performed using SPSS 20.0 and Chi-square test was applied. Results: Parents were most influencing factors for both male and female students to choose dentistry and students rated reputation and lifestyle (96.7%) as most motivating factor. About 80% of students wanted to pursue specialization after B.D.S where maximum preference was given to oral surgery (29%), endodontics (12%), and orthodontics (9%). Statistically significant association was found between gender and interest to do specialization in dentistry (P = 0.004). Conclusion: Dentistry upholds a reputable position among the students, and most students' want to pursue specialization after completion, of course; however, it's disheartening that very few students are inclined toward nonclinical branches.

Keywords: Career choice, dental education, dental students, specialization

How to cite this article:
Motghare V, Jayaprakash K, Shivalingesh K K, Gupta B, Thakkar S, Prabhakar I. Sociodemographic profile and future expectations of newly entered students in a dental institute in Greater Noida, India. J Indian Assoc Public Health Dent 2015;13:67-72

How to cite this URL:
Motghare V, Jayaprakash K, Shivalingesh K K, Gupta B, Thakkar S, Prabhakar I. Sociodemographic profile and future expectations of newly entered students in a dental institute in Greater Noida, India. J Indian Assoc Public Health Dent [serial online] 2015 [cited 2023 May 29];13:67-72. Available from: https://journals.lww.com/aphd/pages/default.aspx/text.asp?2015/13/1/67/153595

  Introduction Top

Medical professionals are publicly acknowledged for their ethical and moral responsibilities. Without much doubt, medicine has been considered as an esteemed profession all around the globe, and health care professionals are considered to be in a hierarchy level next to God. Advancement in the medical field has led to the evolution of many branches, and dental specialty is regarded as one of the pivotal branches of medicine as oral health is an integrated part of general health. Dentistry is fast becoming a career of choice for students who want to pursue a career in medicine and presently in India, more than 30,000 students are getting enrolled in 301 colleges through various central and state examinations. [1]

Career selection is an important juncture in a student's life and various motivating, and influencing factors help a student to select their career. Previous studies have indicated that business related factors, self-employment, reasonable working hours, financial stability and wish to work for the penurious section of the society were prime motivating factors for students to select dentistry as a career. [2],[3],[4] Studies in developed countries have shown that relatives and friends played an important role in the choice of career while in developing countries teachers and parents are the most influencing persons for selection of dentistry as a career. [5],[6],[7],[8],[9],[10] Study carried out on South African students revealed financial security as a major determinant to choose dentistry. [11]

In U.S.A prestige related to the profession was considered least significant factor to choose dentistry. [12] These influencing and motivating factors not only affect the choice of career for a student, but also affect their future professional aspirations. For instance, Students in U.S.A are more inclined to practice postdoctoral general dentistry training after completion of dental graduation and very less students were motivated to enter academics. [13] A study conducted in India showed that most of the students wanted to start their own private practice. [14] Another study done on Nigerian students showed interest to do postgraduation in clinical branches of dentistry. [15] Thus, factors which help a freshly passed high school graduate student to select dentistry as a career and their prospective career plans may vary in different populations.

Tanalp et al. had stated "demographic investigations allow an institute to develop its own academic program, as it gives baseline data of future workforce." [16] By knowing the reasons for joining dentistry, can help an institute to develop its own academic policies. [17] Furthermore, this knowledge can prove useful for policy makers at the local and national level to take specific strategic actions to reduce public health problems like oral health disparities and improper dentist population ratio. Keeping the above mentioned points in view, a study was conducted to know the sociodemographic characteristics of the students who recently took admission in a private institute in India, various motivating and influencing factors, which made them to choose dentistry as a career and their future career aspirations.

  Materials and Methods Top

This is an institute based cross-sectional study. The study population comprised of 100 1 st year undergraduate students who took admission in a private institute at Greater Noida in the academic session of 2013-2017 selected through convenience sampling. On orientation day, these freshly joined students were made aware of various aspects of the dental curriculum and a brief introduction about various subjects and departments was given by respective Head of each department. The study was conducted during the month of October 2013, and ethical clearance was taken from the "Ethical Committee" of the Institute.

Initially, a preliminary questionnaire comprising of sociodemographic variables, influencing factors, motivating factors, and future career aspects of students were developed after a through literature survey. [18],[19],[20],[21],[22],[23],[24] Focus group discussion was held in Department of Public Health Dentistry among team of five students, and few questions were added. The preliminary questionnaire consisted of 50 items, which were further screened by panel of judges who carried out content validation of the questionnaire. Panel of judges approved 50-item questionnaire with slight modifications on the sentences, which was a pilot tested on a sample of ten students. In the pilot test internal reliability of the questionnaire was assessed by calculating cronbach's alpha through split half technique and overall alpha value obtained was 0.8.

On the day of survey, students were explained the purpose of the study before distributing questionnaires. They were given pretested and validated questionnaires during practical class by the primary investigator and collected after 15 min as it took approximately 10 min to fill the questionnaire. The participation in the survey was voluntary, and a written informed consent was taken from each student. Students not present during study period, who filled incomplete survey forms and not giving informed consent were not included in the final sample size.

The final revised survey instrument consisted of three main domains, which included sociodemographic profile of the students, influencing and motivating factors for choosing dentistry and future career plans of students. Variables for sociodemographic background included age, gender, place of residence, residence type, primary language spoken, socioeconomic status of the students, whether any financial loan taken for the study. Students were also asked to state whether any of their parents or relatives was in medical or dental profession and whether studying dentistry was their first career choice.

Final survey instrument consisted of 9 influencing persons and 13 motivating factors, which suited Indian scenario. Students were also asked about their future career plans and what they wish to do after completing their undergraduate training program.

Data was analyzed using SPSS package 20 (IBM,Chicago U.S.A). Descriptive statistics and Chi-square test were performed with P ≤ 0.05 considered as statistically significant at 95% confidence level.

  Results Top

A total of 93 students participated in the study and demographic analysis of the study population revealed that 79% were females and 21% were males with 93% of the students between 18 and 21 years of age. Furthermore, it was found that 88% of students who pursued a career in dentistry were from the urban background. Nearly 82% students preferred to stay in college campus. Although, 66% of the total students were from the upper class, followed by upper middle (20%) and lower middle class (14%) (based on Kuppuswamy scale). [23] Only 18% students reported to have applied for the financial loan for pursuing their course. In addition, 44% students indicated "Hindi" as their primary language. When asked about dentistry being the first career preference only 37% students responded "yes" to the question whereas 83% students wished to enter medical specialty, followed by pharmacy (9%). Most of the students had their parents/relatives in the medical field (84%) while 16% students came from a family of dentists. Of 93 students, 50% students wanted to practice in urban areas, followed by foreign countries (36%), while only (14%) wanted to practice in rural areas [Table 1].
Table 1: Demographic characteristics of study population

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Most students indicated that joining dentistry was their own personal decision (87%) and both male and female students considered their parents as most influencing persons. Male students stated "Personal Decision (85%), Father (80%) and Mother (80%)" as top three influencing factors while "Counseling Teacher" as least influencing variable. Female students also considered their parents as most influencing persons (Father 84.9%, Mother 83.9%) while "Teacher in High School" as less influencing factor. No statistically significant difference was found between males and females with regard to various influencing factors [Table 2].
Table 2: Comparison of influencing factors between males and females in choosing dentistry as career

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Out of 14 motivating factors, the students selected "Reputation and lifestyle (96.7%), Interest in the medical field (93.5%) and Interest in the content of the profession (92.4%)" as top three motives to choose dentistry as career. All male students (n = 20) unanimously rated "Desire to work with people" as most motivating factor, followed by "Reputation and Lifestyle and Interest in Content of Profession." Female students ranked "Reputation and Lifestyle (97.26%), financial opportunities associated with the profession (93.15%) and Interest in Medical branch (93.15%)" as top three motivating factors while "starting career earlier than medical school graduate" (65.75%) was considered as least motivating factor. No statistically significant difference was found between males and females with regard to various motivating factors [Table 3].
Table 3: Comparison of motivating factors between males and females in choosing dentistry as career

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When asked about future career expectations, most of the students (80%) showed interest to do specialization in dentistry with oral surgery, endodontics and orthodontics being most preferred while oral medicine and oral pathology were least preferred branches for specialization [Figure 1]. A statistically significant difference (P = 0.004) was found between males and females with regard to their interest in doing specialization [Table 4]. There was no statistically significant difference between the amount of debt taken, socioeconomic status on future career plans of male and female students.
Figure 1: Specialty choice among dental students

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Table 4: Future expectations of students

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  Discussion Top

The present study concentrated on demographic details and future expectations of recently joined students in the dental institute located in the national capital region. In the present study, we found more female students were enrolled in college to study dentistry than their male counterparts, which was similar to studies done in other parts of the world. [5],[7],[8],[9],[10] Coombs and Brand stated "personal qualities of women as professionals and more demand for women in private clinics" as main reasons for the increase in admission of female students in dental schools. [25],[26] Most students in our study did their higher secondary from private schools, which are in contrary to study done on Nigerian students. [5] Only 37% of the students' chose dentistry as their first career choice whereas others preferred M.B.B.S course over B.D.S course, which was similar to study done in Nigeria where only 32% students preferred dentistry and most students preferred medical branch. [5] Freshly entered students' preferred hostel accommodation indicating their awareness to hectic schedule in college, which is in agreement to a study done in France while other studies conducted in Sydney and Turkey showed students preferred to stay with parents. [16],[27],[28],[29],[30] Only 18% of students applied for financial loans, suggesting that most students came from financially stable families, which are similar to other studies published in the literature. [7],[8],[19],[26],[27],[28],[29],[30]

Parental influence was the most important factor for students to choose dentistry and this result is in accordance with that of studies conducted in Turkey and Nigeria where 46% and 50% students stated father and mother as most influencing persons. [5],[16] This can be attributed to the fact that in India, parents take a leading role in deciding the career of their children. [5],[16] In the present study, both male and female students rated teachers as least influencing persons which are contradictory to studies done in developed countries. [5]

Most students (63 Female and 11 Male) wished to do specialization in a particular branch of dentistry which is in contrary to results of previously published Indian study where most of the students wished to start their own private practice. [14] There was a statistically significant difference between male and female students in their interest to do specialization (P = 0.002). Oral surgery (37%), endodontics (15%) and orthodontics (11%) were top three branches in which students wanted to specialize, while oral medicine (3%), oral pathology (4%) and public health dentistry (5%) were least preferred branches. These findings were similar to studies done in Nigeria and Turkey where students preferred orthodontics and oral surgery. [15],[16] Very few students (24%) wanted to enter in academics with more number of female students showed interest in academics (n = 19). [31] According to Rogér "declining interest in academic dentistry is a major concern among many societies." [32] Intensive workload, increased teaching hours, and low salary are some of the difficulties being faced by professionals working in academics. [33]

In our study, only 14% students were motivated to work in rural areas while 50% students wanted to practice in urban and foreign areas. Modern and luxurious lifestyle in foreign and urban areas with good salary packages might be a reason for preferring to work in these areas. [33] Thus, the institute needs to take planned strategic actions so that these students realize their moral responsibility and are motivated to work for people residing in rural areas. Furthermore, results of the study are applicable to this institute and other dental institutes in India should conduct similar research so that baseline data about sociodemographic characteristics and future career aspects of budding dentists can be obtained, and strategic actions can be taken for proper distribution of the workforce.

The study was restricted to small number of students of an institute and these freshly entered students are yet to understand various clinical and technical aspects of the curriculum and during their course of tenure it can be expected that their future aspirations might change with time and thus it can be one of the major limitation of the study. Furthermore, chances of information bias were there due to self-reported character of data. Thus, it is recommended to conduct further similar studies on students studying in all years of the tenure and comparisons should be made on future expectations of students in preclinical years and clinical years.

  Conclusions Top

It can be concluded from our study that students were most influenced by their parents to choose dentistry with reputation associated with the profession as most motivating factor to enter dentistry. Students were inclined more toward clinical branches to do specialization then nonclinical branches.

  References Top

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  [Figure 1]

  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3], [Table 4]


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