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Year : 2008  |  Volume : 21  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 164

Profile and Career Preferences of Pharmacy Students at the University of Limpopo, Turfloop Campus, South Africa

University of Limpopo, Polokwane, South Africa

Correspondence Address:
S I Modipa
University of Limpopo, Polokwane
South Africa
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

PMID: 19967636

Context: There is a maldistribution of pharmacists in the South African health system, with only 15.6% of pharmacists working in the public sector, while the public sector serves more than 80% of the population. Setting: University of Limpopo, Turfloop Campus, Pharmacy Programme. Objective: To establish the profile and career preferences of University of Limpopo pharmacy students and investigate factors likely to influence their choices. Design: Cross-sectional descriptive study of Bachelor of Pharmacy students, using a semi-structured questionnaire. Findings: The response rate was 93% (157/169), with 44% female and 69% between the ages of 21 to 25 years. Nearly 80% of respondents were of rural origin; 77% attended rural government schools, 18% urban government schools, and 4% attended private schools. Only 39% of students indicated pharmacy as their first choice and 47% as second choice. Forty-six percent of the responding students preferred to work in a government hospital, 36% in industry, and 7%, 6% and 3% in private hospitals, the retail sector and academia, respectively. About 40% indicated a preference to work in rural areas. Most of the students stated service to community and paying back their sponsor as their main reasons for government hospital preference. Money, in combination with other reasons (e.g., working conditions), influenced work sector preference for less than 15% of responding students - with non-monetary incentives apparently more influential in student public sector preferences. Conclusions: Most University of Limpopo pharmacy students intend to work in rural areas and the public sector, and are mainly motivated by the need to serve the community.

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