Has the student’s thesis influenced on later medical career?
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Background: The curriculum of the medical study at NTNU includes a student’s thesis performed during the 5th study year. One or two students together make a small scientific study under the supervision of a tutor. The thesis is presented in a booklet, and in some cases it is published in national or international medical journals. Aim: Determine whether the student’s thesis has influenced on the later medical career of the student. Method: 805 medical students graduated from 2002 to 2011. From the name list, 726 addresses could be found, and a written questionnaire about the topic of their thesis, the experience with the process, the collaboration with their tutor, their postgraduate education and choice of specialty, were sent. Results: Out of 726 letters, 107 with unknown addresses were returned to sender and eight graduated students declined to participate. 451 questionnaires were received giving a response rate of 73.8%. The medical field was the most important factor for choosing theme for the student’s thesis (83.1%). In total 21.7 % of the medical doctors in the survey, aimed at a career within the same field as their thesis, and 9.3 % were already working in the special field. The student’s thesis seems to stimulate further research (53%) and to improve understanding of research results (82.6%) and statistics (69.9%). Conclusions:This survey shows that the student’s thesis has an impact on their future interest in research, the knowledge and understanding of research results and statistics, but was less important for choosing specialty.