Introduction Occupational medicine in Romania is not one of the first choices for residency training programmes and there are medical schools with no or just an optional educational program in this specialty for medical students. We tried to estimate the influence of such a program in changing students’ attitude towards our specialty.
Methods We used the 18 items questionnaire developed by Smits and Verbeek and published in Occupational Medicine Journal in 2015, which was applied in its original form (English version) on 141 fourth-year medical students before and after their educational program in occupational medicine. Data was collected in a Microsoft Excel Datasheet and analysed using statistical functions (average, sum, standard deviation, t-test paired samples, and 0.05 statistical significance threshold was used). Items were collapsed in three scales according to the authors (a career in occupational medicine – 6 items, occupational medicine as an interesting specialty – 11 items and role and position of the occupational physician – 1 item).
Results For the first scale the mean score before was 17.35 and 16.87 after the educational program (0.48 difference and p=0.082). The second scale had a mean score before of 42.97 points and 43.78 after (0.81 difference and p=0.010), and the third scale, 3.39 before and 3.58 after (difference of 0.19 and p=0.048).
Discussion Results showed us scores which are comparable with the ones described in the original paper. In our research the educational program didn’t reveal a positive effect in students attitude regarding choosing a career in occupational medicine (the score decreased but not statistical significant). A positive response was noticed in changing their attitude about occupational medicine as a specialty (higher score after and statistical significant) and also in the awareness of the necessity of independence of the occupational physician from the employer.
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