A retrospective survey of the career paths and demographics of Durban University of Technology (DUT) chiropractic graduates
Aims and Objectives: To assess the demographics, career paths and factors affecting chiropractic graduates of Durban University of Technology (DUT) from June 1994 to June 2007. Method: A retrospective qualitative survey was conducted on 62 chiropractic graduates of DUT. The sample represented 25.5% of the total chiropractic population. Raw data regarding the demographics, respondents’ perception of their education, current career paths, the factors responsible for affecting these career paths, as well as a profile of chiropractic practices in South Africa (SA) was obtained. All data acquired was assessed using SAS (Statistical Analysis System) version 9.1.3. The data was purely descriptive, describing respondents’ career paths and their experiences, and no specific hypothesis was investigated. Results: The average respondent was found to be a married, white male who started his chiropractic career at age 25-26 years. A total of 98.4% (n = 61) of the respondents were currently in practice, with 80.6% (n = 50) indicating career satisfaction. The majority (62.9%; n = 39) of respondents perceived there to be a growing acceptance of chiropractic within the medical community, whilst 98.4% (n = 61) stated that they are currently part of an active referral system between various other medical practitioners. 46% (n = 23) listed DUT as their preferred choice of chiropractic institution. Conclusion and Recommendations: The majority of respondents’ indicated DUT as the preferred choice of chiropractic institution due to its location and the system of chiropractic taught (diversified). However, shortcomings in the education were highlighted to be a lack of practically applicable knowledge taught at undergraduate level, most especially business skills and speciality areas and that respondents’ perceived the qualification not to be as versatile and widely accepted as other international chiropractic qualifications. Factors responsible for positively affecting the career paths of chiropractic graduates were indicated to be the personality type of the graduate, the means to finance a practice, support from parents and spouse or partner and the level of acceptance graduates received from the public and other professions within the medical sector. A recommendation for future studies is that a longer time period be given for questionnaires to be returned and a larger sample group be established in order to ensure that the sample group and total population is homogenous.