The dynamics of medical studies are intricate and stressors such as the COVID-19 pandemic make them even more complex.
This article aims to evaluate the impact of COVID-19 on the willingness of medical students to become doctors and on their goals. It also explores the impact of COVID-19 on students' mental health and wellbeing.
A literature-based anonymous online survey was developed targeting the students’ future career aspirations, willingness to become a doctor and aspects of their mental health. Descriptive and univariant regression analysis were performed.
More males compared to females enrolled into medical school for personal gain. A minority of students reported a change in their initial specialty choice after the pandemic with no statistical significance in their willingness to become a doctor ( p =0.45). Only students who experienced long COVID-19 symptoms were observed to experience significant variation in insomnia patterns ( p =0.01). The female student body experienced significantly higher anxiety levels than their male counterparts, with 11.21% (CI95%:6.34 – 18.74) experiencing severe anxiety.
The decision to enrol into medical school is a profoundly personal one which should not be taken lightly. Work conditions should improve to attract the future generation of health care provision. It is thus recommended that medical schools consider setting up a pre-entry course to inform and expose potential medical students regarding doctors’ working lives. It is paramount that mental and psychological aid is offered in an easily accessible and non-stigmatising way by all medical schools.