Background: The purpose of this paper is to describe and analyse the professional expectations and profile of medical students at the Cuban-supported School of General Medicine, in the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences of the National University of Timor-Leste. Methods: A piloted, standardized questionnaire, with closed- and open-ended questions, was distributed to registered medical students attending classes on the day of the survey. All data were analysed using SPSS. The statistical analysis is mostly descriptive. Results: Students decide to study medicine at an early age. Relatives and friends seem to have an especially important influence in encouraging, reinforcing and promoting the desire to be a doctor. The degree of feminization of the student population is high. Medical students are in general satisfied with the training received, though demanding improvements in terms of systems to support their studies and training (e.g. libraries, laboratories, access to computers and the Internet). Medical students know that they will be needed in the public sector and that it would represent their opportunity to contribute to the public's welfare. Nonetheless, they report that they expect to combine public sector practice with private work, probably, in order to improve their earnings. This may be explained by their expectations for salaries, which are much higher than the current level of public sector salaries. A significant proportion of students are unsure about their future area of specialization. Of those that have determined their desired specialization, most intend to train as hospital specialists and to follow a hospital-based career. For many, specialization is equated with migration to study abroad. There are important differences between students at the start of their training compared with more advanced students. Contribution to the field: This paper gives an overview of student expectations for alignment with stated national human resources for health priorities for Timor-Leste.
- Medical training
UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
- SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-Being