Motivation to study dental professions in one London Dental Institute

Authors

  • A. Belsi,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Primary Care and Public Health, School of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College London, London, UK
    • Correspondence

      Dr Athina Belsi

      (present address) Department of Surgery and Cancer 2nd Floor, Paterson Centre St Mary's Hospital

      Imperial College London

      South Wharf Road

      London W2 1BL, UK

      Tel: 020 3312 1100

      Fax: 020 3312 6309

      e-mail: a.belsi@imperial.ac.uk

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  • K. Asimakopoulou,

    1. Unit of Social and Behavioural Sciences, King's College London Dental Institute at Guy's, King's College and St Thomas' Hospitals, London, UK
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  • N. Donaldson,

    1. Biostatistics and Research Methods Centre, King's College London Dental Institute at Guy's, King's College and St Thomas' Hospitals, London, UK
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  • J. Gallagher

    1. Unit of Dental Public Health, King's College London Dental Institute at Guy's, King's College and St Thomas' Hospitals, London, UK
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Abstract

Introduction

While past research has explored dental students' motivation to study, there is limited understanding in the reasons behind career choice for hygienists/therapists and dental nurses. The aim of this study was to investigate simultaneously the views of students of dentistry, hygiene/therapy and dental nursing in King's College London and explore similarities or differences in career choice.

Methods

All first-year students were invited to the questionnaire survey, exploring motivation to study using a 23-item instrument. Data were analysed using SPSS v18; statistical analysis included one-way analyses of variance and factor analysis.

Results

The overall response rate to the study was 75% (n = 209). Ten out of 23 factors were considered important by more than 80% of respondents, with ‘job security’ (93.8%), ‘desire to work with people’ (88%) and ‘degree leading to recognised job’ (87.5%) being top three. Analysis suggested that 52% of the total variation in motivating influences was explained by four factors: ‘features of the job’ (26%), ‘education/skills’ (11%), ‘public service’ (8%) and ‘careers-advising’ (7%); at group level ‘features of the job’ were significantly more important for the direct entrants to dentistry (= 0.001).

Discussion

The findings suggest that across groups students were motivated to study by common influences reflecting altruistic, but also pragmatic and realistic motives, while ‘features of the job’ were more important for the direct entrants to dentistry.

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