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South African Dental Journal

versão On-line ISSN 0375-1562
versão impressa ISSN 0011-8516


MOSTERT, VC. Reasons why South African dentists chose a career in Dentistry, and later opted to enter an academic environment. S. Afr. dent. j. [online]. 2018, vol.73, n.3, pp.141-145. ISSN 0375-1562.

OBJECTIVES: This study aimed to investigate the reasons why South African dentists chose to study Dentistry, later opting for an academic career. Methods: A cross sectional survey using an anonymous 12-point questionnaire that was sent out to a cohort of dentists and specialists holding positions at the four South African universities which offer a dental degree. Descriptive statistics were calculated using STATA Release 14. RESULTS: Of 160 questionnaires distributed, 66 were completed. Popular reasons dentists cited for choosing this career were job security, a desire to help people, the degree is recognised, love working with their hands, and regular but flexible working hours. The main reasons the respondents chose an academic career were a need for intellectual stimulation, desiring a broad spectrum of work, having a love for teaching, wanting to influence or shape the profession, to pursue postgraduate studies and to do research. More than half (55%) of respondents would not choose Dentistry as a career again. CONCLUSION: This study revealed that the career motivations of this cohort of SA dentists was far less related to the socioeconomic aspects of Dentistry than it was to their desire for more mental stimulation, in contrast to many findings elsewhere.

Palavras-chave : Career motivations; academic career; problems faced.

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