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The Association Between Personality Traits and Specialty Preference Among Medical Students in Jordan

Authors Nawaiseh MB, Haddadin RR, Al Droubi B, Nawaiseh HB, Alarood S, Aborajooh E, Abufaraj M, Abu-Yaghi NE

Received 14 May 2020

Accepted for publication 30 June 2020

Published 24 July 2020 Volume 2020:13 Pages 599—607


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Professor Igor Elman

Mohammed B Nawaiseh,1 Rund R Haddadin,1 Belal Al Droubi,2 Hussam B Nawaiseh,3 Salameh Alarood,3 Emad Aborajooh,4 Mohammad Abufaraj,3,5 Nakhleh E Abu-Yaghi3

1King Hussein Medical Center, The Royal Medical Services, Amman, Jordan; 2School of Medicine, Jordan University of Science and Technology, Irbid, Jordan; 3School of Medicine, The University of Jordan, Amman, Jordan; 4Department of Surgery, Faculty of Medicine, Mutah University, Kerak, Jordan; 5Department of Urology, The University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria

Correspondence: Nakhleh E Abu-Yaghi
School of Medicine, The University of Jordan, Amman 11942, Jordan

Aim: To assess the association between personality traits by the five-factor model and specialty choice preference among medical students and immediate medical graduates in Jordan and to identify if there were any significant differences in personality profiles between those planning to pursue different career pathways.
Methods: This is a cross-sectional study including fifth- and sixth-year medical students and post-graduate internship doctors at five universities in Jordan. An online survey was used to collect data from participants, which included their general characteristics, their personality profile using the Big Five Inventory– 2, and questions about their most preferred specialty choice.
Results: One thousand and twelve participants were enrolled in this study. Only 4.9% were interested in pursuing a specialty in basic medical sciences, and about 12% wanted to be non-practicing medical doctors. Almost half of all participants wanted to pursue a career in surgery-oriented specialties. Those were more extraverted, more conscientious, and had less negative emotions than students who chose medicine-oriented specialties. Students who decided to pursue clinical specialties and students who wanted to be practicing doctors were more extraverted and more conscientious.
Conclusion: Medical students and fresh medical graduates from Jordan who exhibited higher extraversion and conscientiousness and lower negative emotions preferred to be practicing clinicians. They were more inclined to pursue a career in surgery-oriented specialties. These findings might be helpful in understanding the preferences of young doctors and in counseling them about their career paths. Medical educators may wish to incorporate personality trait evaluation in planning post-graduate programs.

Keywords: five-factor model, medical students, personality, specialty choice, medical education

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