THE IMAGE OF A DOCTOR AND THE CHOICE OF A PROFESSION: answers of ONMedU higher education seekers

Already at the stage of training, medical higher education graduates communicate with patients, attend practice in hospitals, and in senior years they can hold positions as auxiliary medical staff, therefore their motivation and satisfaction with their chosen profession, interest in professional information forms their personal image of a specialist, which is reflected in the minds of others . As research shows, social changes that provoke stress, anxiety, and depression can influence the choice of a profession by applicants, moreover, even after entering a higher education institution, nervous tension negatively affects the motivation of applicants and their academic success [Lazarenko V., Sanina N., 2022 ; Levchenko M. and others, 2022; Srichawla, B.S. et al., 2022].

The choice of future by students of higher education in medical universities is determined by internal and external factors [Nakasujja N. et al., 2021], but quite often applicants cannot understand and explain their true reasons for choosing a medical educational institution [Kimura Sh. et al., 2023]. It is known that not understanding the essence of one’s choice can negatively affect internal motivation, which will slow down academic success [Wu H. et al., 2020]. It is important that first-year students will become doctors in the future and will influence the image of the specialty. Therefore, it is relevant to study the factors influencing their choice of profession.

Taking into account the pedagogical importance of this problem, a survey was conducted at the Department of Social Sciences within the framework of the work of the problematic scientific group of higher education seekers “The image of a doctor” (leader – assistant professor Olena Uvarova) of the 1st year of ONMedU (year of entry – 2022) in order to identify the reasons and factors for choosing the profession of a doctor and its perception after the first year of study. In addition, attention was paid to the possible difficulties faced by the acquirers. The 2022 entrants were chosen for the study – they are the first entrants who made their choice of profession in the conditions of socio-political changes with an understanding of responsibility as future medical workers.

The collection of information took place in May 2023 in the form of an anonymous electronic survey using the author’s questionnaire (the developers are associate professor Olena Uvarova and winner of the Faculty of Medicine No. 1 Vitaly Nigretskul). Google forms were used to create the questionnaire, links to which were sent to potential respondents in groups on social networks. 176 students of the 1st year of the ONMedU majoring in “Medicine” voluntarily participated in the survey.

To the question “Was your choice of a medical university fully conscious?” answered: yes – 68.8%, rather yes – 24.4%; other answers (difficult to answer; rather no; no) together amounted to 6.8%, which indicates the high motivation of the applicants at the stage of admission to the medical higher education institution. However, some participants mentioned an outside influence on the above decision: almost 1/5 of the applicants reported that family advice was the main reason for choosing Medicine. Satisfaction with the chosen profession was noted by 84.6% of applicants, it turned out to be difficult to answer this question for 12.5%, a small percentage – 2.9 fell on the answers “rather not” and “no”.

The survey took place almost at the end of the school year, that is, young people have already gained some learning experience. It is important that when thinking about the question of whether they would choose a medical university if they were to enter a higher education institution now, 79.6% would do so, 11.9% hesitated, and 8.5% answered negatively. The last indicator should motivate the teaching staff to work in the direction of improving the image of the doctor. Although, most likely, the reason may be the difficulty of mastering medical science: 67% noted a large amount of educational material among the problems of learning.

Regarding the image of the profession, 46.6% of applicants reported that after entering the university, their perception of the image of a doctor changed, namely: for 52.9% it improved, for 8.5% it worsened (38.6% chose the option “difficult to answer” ). Therefore, during the next years of training, it is necessary to pay more attention to the professional identification of the students.


In the answers to the question “How has your desire to become a doctor changed, taking into account the understanding of possible threats and risks in the professional activity of a medical worker?” applicants demonstrated the resilience necessary for future doctors: the desire to become a doctor did not change in 50%, and in 10.8% of respondents it increased and in 12.5% it rather increased; decreased and rather decreased – only by 4% together. At the same time, 22.7% of respondents found it difficult to answer this question, i.e. slightly more than 1/5 of first-year applicants need to be aware of their professional choice in the context of socio-political changes.

Thus, the survey showed that, despite the socio-political challenges of recent years and the difficulty of education, ONMedU was able to increase the level of the profession’s image and motivation to achieve success in its field of activity. It can be assumed that such changes are related to the positive moments that the students encountered within the walls of the university: about half of the respondents attributed to them the acquaintance with a new team, and a third – new and interesting medical disciplines.

Therefore, the conducted survey revealed a high percentage of conscious choice of profession by medical students, the vast majority of whom only strengthened their desire to become worthy doctors. It is important to carry out similar monitoring in the future as well, with further measures to be taken by teachers to increase the motivation of students to achieve academic success.

A motivated medical student goes through the process of forming a professional identity and accepting himself as a specialist more easily, while studying with interest, he increases the level of competence, and therefore affects the creation of a positive image of a doctor in society.

Olena Uvarova,

Candidate of Science, Associate Professor of the Department of Social Sciences, ONMedU

Vitalii Nigretskul,

student of the 3rd year of the medical faculty No. 1 of ONMedU