An article published in the Academic Medicine (Journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges) entitled “Need for More Career Counseling” written by Hesser, Mehaffey &. Thompson (1995) proffered critical factors which influence the career decisions of medical students. The authors utilized the questionnaire survey method by distributing career choice questionnaires in 1993 during a business meeting organized by the Organization of Student Representatives (OSR). The respondents comprised of 114 OSR members of diverse nationalities who pursued varied undergraduate degrees.
The findings revealed that the following factors were influential in the students’ career choice: (1) parental support. and (2) previous health care orientation and experience. In addition, more than “97% of the respondents felt that medical schools should help medical students who are undecided about their medical specialty choices” (Hesser, Mehaffey &. Thompson, 1995, 1). The authors averred that the respondents emphasized that their medical schools failed to provide assistance in choosing a medical specialty due to the following reasons: (1) lack of neither facilitators nor organized career support services. (2) have trained facilitators but not consistent in the provision of career support services. and (3) have both facilitators and support services but failed to announce public schedules as needed.
As a result, the authors contended that future research could look into focusing not only on training appropriate facilitators and organizing career support services but more so on strategies of publicizing these services accordingly. They concluded by stating that medical students, on their own determined initiatives, must “not give up until they have found them!” (Hesser, Mehaffey &. Thompson, 1995, 1).
The information relayed in the article is relevant in terms of making students aware that various endeavors and educational institutions must actively pursue career counseling services to guide students in the direction of their career path. Despite one’s determination to pursue a particular career, developments in theoretical perspectives and practical applications and opportunities accorded by the selected career could, in fact, pave the way for changes in one’s choice of endeavor. Coupled with a student’s innate skills and capabilities, which emerge during the course of academic pursuit, educational institutions are the most appropriate medium to provide career counseling to direct the students in the right path of professional life. In this regard, each educational institution should equip themselves in terms of trained career counselors, organized career support services, and adequate and effective advertisement to inform the students of the career support services much needed to enlighten and guide their paths towards the most appropriate career for them.