Background Since the general tendency of scarcity of rheumatologists across Europe, Rheumatology seems not to be a very popular discipline to choose by medical students. The reasons for this are not clear. Choice for medical specialization is made in the 7th year of medical training in Belgium (in a total of three years of Bachelor and four years of Master's degree). In the 7th year, in case of specialist training, a student from the Ghent University can select twice a specific pre-specialty training period of nine weeks in the disciplines of choice.
Objectives To explore how Belgian medical students consider rheumatology as a useful discipline for pre-speciality training and to question their reasons and motivation for this.
Methods An online questionnaire was sent to all medical students from the 5th, 6th and 7th Year of the Ghent University Medical School. They were asked to complete questions about demographic status, questions about their exposure and their opinion on the usefulness of several disciplines to choose for pre-speciality training. We also assessed a specific motivation why to consider or exclude rheumatology as a discipline for intensive pre-speciality training.
Results A total of 401 students participated in the survey. Rheumatology was found the 17th speciality of choice from a total of 37 disciplines to be considered most useful for their future medical career (Fig. 1).
A total of 93 students (23.2%) completed the open questions about their interest in rheumatology and the motivational reasons why to choose or not to exclude rheumatology during pre-speciality training. Nine main categories were remained and are shown in Table 1.
Conclusions Although in general, student consider Rheumatology as a very fascinating speciality, only a limited number of students seems to consider this for pre-specialty training. Limiting factors are the belief of being very specialized, the lack of technical procedures and not being prepared to receive a training in internal medicine.
Disclosure of Interest None declared
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