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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 69-73

The impact of the “Brain Drain” involving Saudi physicians: A cross-sectional study

1 College of Medicine, Qassim University, Buraydah, Qassim, Saudi Arabia
2 Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, King Abdulaziz University Hospital, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
3 Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, College of Medicine, Prince Sattam Bin Abdulaziz University, Al-Saih, Saudi Arabia
4 Department of Medicine, King Fahad Specialist Hospital, Qassim, Saudi Arabia
5 Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, College of Medicine, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Correspondence Address:
Marya Alsuhaibani
College of Medicine, Qassim University, Buraydah, Qassim
Saudi Arabia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/JNSM.JNSM_32_18

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Objectives: This study aimed to elucidate the brain drain phenomenon involving Saudi medical students by assessing their characteristics and intentions and related factors. Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional survey-based study conducted at Qassim University, Saudi Arabia. The subjects included 150 prefinal or final year medical students, who completed a modified version of a questionnaire developed by Akl et al. Results: Ninety-six students intended to study abroad with 48 and 33 planning to study in Canada and the USA, respectively. Country preference differed according to class ranking, and 69% and 33.3% of students in the top and bottom thirds of the class intended to study in Canada (P = 0.047). Male students were more likely to express the intention to study abroad. However, women were significantly more likely to remain abroad relative to males (P < 0.001). The only factor associated with intention to study abroad was the year of study and those in the final year were 60% less likely to express an intention to study abroad relative to those in prefinal years (P = 0.012). Conclusion: Most of our individuals intended to study abroad. It was varied according to gender differences. The primarily destination is Canada. This could present a challenge in meeting the high demand for staff in the health-care service in Saudi Arabia and exacerbate the current shortage of physicians in future.

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