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JKM > Volume 44(3); 2023 > Article
Kim, Kim, Lee, Jang, and Park: Survey and Suggestions on the Educational and Research Environment of Graduate Students of Korean Medicine: Focusing on fostering of KMD-scientist

Abstract

Objectives

The role of physician-scientists who bridge the gap between basic science and clinical medicine is crucial in advancing medical innovation. This study aims to examine the educational and research environment and career satisfaction of graduate students in Korean Medicine among those who are Korean medicine doctor (KMD).

Methods

This study analyzed the results of a survey consisting of respondents’ composition, job status, graduate education and job satisfaction, economic conditions, career determinants, and obstacles to the career path of KMD-scientists from 65 participants including both full-time and part-time graduate students.

Results

The results revealed significant differences between full-time and part-time graduate students in terms of weekly hours spent and job priorities, motivation for entering graduate school, career preferences, and desired career paths. The study highlights the need for tailored support for full-time and part-time graduate students and the importance of economic assistance in fostering KM scientists. Economic difficulties were identified as a major obstacle for full-time graduate students pursuing research careers. Tuition fees were found to be a significant burden for all graduate students. Furthermore, it emphasizes the importance of enhancing the research capabilities of part-time graduate students and improving the quality of education to foster KMD-scientists.

Conclusion

This research provides essential insights for Korean Medicine colleges and graduate schools to develop targeted improvement plans and effectively train KMD-scientist.

Table 1
Demographic Information
Total Full-time Part-time

N % N % N %
Sex
 Male 37 56.92 9 50.00 28 59.57
 Female 27 41.54 9 50.00 18 38.30
 N/A 1 1.54 0 0.00 1 2.13

Major
 Basic Korean Medicine 32 49.23 17 94.44 15 31.91
 Clinical Korean Medicine 33 50.77 1 5.56 32 68.09

Degree
 Master’s degree 18 27.69 8 44.44 10 21.28
 PhD 27 41.54 8 44.44 19 40.43
 Integrated PhD program 20 30.77 2 11.11 18 38.30

Specialist 23 35.38 1 5.56 22 46.81

Mean SD Mean SD Mean SD

Years of Graduate School 2.49 1.15 2.22 1.31 2.60 1.08

N, number; SD, standard deviation

Table 2
Actual conditions of graduate students’ research environment
Total Full-time Part-time Adj p val

Mean SD Mean SD Mean SD
Number of lectures (per semester) 9.91 4.04 10.89 4.27 9.53 3.93 0.48

Time (hour/week)
 Education 5.13 3.89 5.00 2.57 5.18 4.31 0.91
 Research 15.96 13.37 30.83 12.69 10.27 8.33 <0.01
 Clinic 26.23 19.21 3.33 2.57 35.00 15.08 <0.01
 Administration 5.83 7.86 8.06 9.53 4.98 7.04 0.46

Priority N % N % N % Adj p val

 Education 0 0 0 0 0 0 -
 Research 25 38.46 18 100 7 14.89 <0.01
 Clinic 39 60 0 0 39 82.98 <0.01
 Administration 1 1.54 0 0 1 2.13 0.49

N, number; SD, standard deviation; Adj p val, adjusted p value

Table 3
Satisfaction of Graduate Education and Research
Total Full-time Part-time Adj p val
Mean SD Mean SD Mean SD
Education Overall Satisfaction 3.52 1.35 3.83 0.92 3.40 1.47 0.43
Departments and laboratories provide sufficient education on the basic skills required as researchers (research design, research conduct, research presentation, thesis writing, thesis submission, etc.) 3.58 1.55 3.89 1.41 3.56 1.60 0.48
The coursework taken in graduate school is sufficient to deepen the competence in the major area 3.32 1.39 3.44 1.25 3.28 1.46 0.78
The affiliated department announces the graduation requirements and ensures that they are followed 4.43 1.00 4.22 1.26 4.51 0.88 0.56
Supervisory guidance was sufficient for research 4.03 1.20 4.22 1.11 3.96 1.23 0.56
Meetings on research topics are held regularly between affiliated laboratory members (advisor, fellow researchers) 3.73 1.42 4.06 1.21 3.61 1.48 0.46
Overall satisfaction with research conditions 3.30 1.23 3.28 1.07 3.30 1.30 0.93
Working hours and workload for research activities are manageable 3.60 1.15 3.56 1.20 3.61 1.15 0.91
Satisfied with the economic conditions (salary, etc.) given for research activities 1.98 1.02 2.06 1.00 1.95 1.04 0.81
Sufficient resources (manpower, facilities, equipment, etc.) required for research activities are available 2.80 1.38 3.11 1.45 2.69 1.36 0.48
Lab meetings attended by the advisor and lab members are held in a free and open atmosphere. 4.02 1.06 4.22 0.94 3.94 1.11 0.48
A feeling of respect from my family and society as a researcher 4.05 1.08 4.22 0.94 3.99 1.13 0.56

N, number; SD, standard deviation; Adj p val, adjusted p value

Table 4
Economic Conditions
Total Full-time Part-time Adj p val

Mean SD Mean SD Mean SD
Overall economic conditions 2.84 1.20 2.39 1.09 3.02 1.21 0.21

Monthly income (10,000 KRW) 487.71 419.56 227.00 116.99 587.56 450.65 <0.01

Labor cost (10,000 KRW/month) 57.18 88.92 171.11 68.00 13.55 47.63 <0.01

Desired labor cost (10,000 KRW /month) 321 180.57 283.33 95.49 335.43 203.04 0.43

Labor cost satisfaction 2.16 0.80 2.22 0.88 2.13 0.78 0.81

Tuition (10,000 KRW/semester) 678.52 143.72 723.06 126.64 661.46 147.43 0.35

Source of Tuition (1st priority, duplicate allowed) N % N % N % Adj p val

Self-funded 31 44.29 2 9.52 29 59.18 <0.01
Scholarship 13 18.57 9 42.86 4 8.16 0.01
Family 8 11.43 4 19.05 4 8.16 0.43
Loan 16 22.86 5 23.81 11 22.45 1.00
Etc. 2 2.86 1 4.76 1 2.04 0.77

N, number; SD, standard deviation; Adj p val, adjusted p value

Table 5
Career Path
Motivation for starting graduate education (duplicate answers allowed) Total Full-time Part-time Adj p val

N % N % N %
 Recommendation of people 12 7.45 3 6.82 9 7.69 1.00
 Alternatives to military service 1 0.62 0 0 1 0.85 1.00
 To gain a master’s degree 13 8.07 0 0 13 11.11 0.08
 To build career 29 18.01 3 6.82 26 22.22 0.04
 Clinic 7 4.35 1 2.27 6 5.13 0.94
 Self-realization 34 21.12 11 25.00 23 19.66 0.90
 Anxiety about finding a job 0 0.00 0 0 0 0 -
 To contribute to the development of Korean Medicine 27 16.77 10 22.73 17 14.53 0.59
 Interest in research and intellectual inquiry 38 23.60 16 36.36 22 18.80 0.04

Desired career
 Public research 4 6.15 3 16.67 1 2.13 0.21
 University 13 20 10 55.56 3 6.38 <0.01
 Private sector 1 1.54 1 5.56 0 0 0.54
 Clinical field 43 66.15 2 11.11 41 87.23 <0.01
 Government 3 4.62 2 11.11 1 2.13 0.43
 Start-up 1 1.54 0 0 1 2.13 1.00

Relevant to Korean Medicine 58 89.23 16 88.89 42 89.36 0.92

Would you consider attending the graduate school where you are currently enrolled if you could choose again whether to start your graduate degree programs at a Korean medical school? 47 72.31 12 66.67 35 74.47 0.95

Would you recommend your fellow Korean medicine doctors to attend a graduate school (full-time or part-time) of a Korean medical school? 40 61.54 13 72.22 27 57.45 0.77

Are you likely to recommend full-time research to other Korean medical doctors? 12 18.46 6 33.33 6 12.77 0.37

Mean SD Mean SD Mean SD Adj p val

Is your graduate school experience encouraging you to pursue a career as a full-time researcher? 2.94 1.38 3.44 1.25 2.74 1.39 0.48

Would you consider a career in research after graduation? 3.19 1.38 4.11 1.08 2.83 1.32 <0.01

Career determinants
 Having a family life 3.78 1.23 3.39 1.33 3.94 1.17 0.40
 Economic factors 4.42 0.95 3.89 1.13 4.62 0.80 0.10
 Work location 3.92 1.19 3.94 1.16 3.91 1.21 0.93
 Honor 3.51 1.23 3.56 1.20 3.49 1.25 0.91
 Having a social impact 3.75 1.17 4.17 0.71 3.60 1.28 0.12
 Work-life balance 4.00 1.33 3.78 1.48 4.09 1.28 0.59
 Self-development 4.62 0.58 4.67 0.49 4.60 0.61 0.78

N, number; SD, standard deviation; Adj p val, adjusted p value

Table 6
Barriers to Korean Medicine Doctor Scientists’ Career Path
Conflict Total Full-time Part-time Adj p val

N % N % N %
No conflict or not participating in the lab as a researcher 43 66.15 10 55.56 33 70.21 1.00
Responsibilities outside of research 13 33.33 4 22.22 9 19.15 1.00
Unreasonable labor cost payments 8 20.51 4 22.22 4 8.51 0.43
Credit distribution not based on research performance 6 15.38 1 5.56 5 10.64 1.00
Different personalities of each member 5 12.82 1 5.56 4 8.51 1.00
Violation of research ethics, such as coercion of laboratory fees and handling of wrong receipts 4 10.26 0 0.00 4 8.51 0.85
Advisor’s unfair evaluation of the thesis or research project 2 5.13 0 0.00 2 4.26 1.00
Abusive language or violence that violates human rights 1 2.56 1 5.56 0 0.00 0.54

Miscellaneous work Total Full-time Part-time Adj p val

Mean SD Mean SD Mean SD

Non-research workload in laboratories and departments 2.41 1.47 2.78 1.44 2.26 2.26 0.46

Does your department and laboratory pay you enough for your work on activities unrelated to graduation research? 2.71 0.93 2.98 1.09 2.60 2.60 0.46

N % N % N % Adj p val

Not doing extraneous work 33 50.77 2 11.11 31 65.96 <0.01
Lab administrative work 17 32.69 8 44.44 9 19.15 0.32
Administrative work of department, university, and academic society 13 25 5 27.78 8 17.02 0.90
Teaching assistant 15 28.85 8 44.44 7 14.89 0.15
Equipment management for lab experiments 2 3.85 2 11.11 0 0.00 0.23
Personal errands of advisors and seniors 5 9.62 3 16.67 2 4.26 0.33

Reason for miscellaneous work
 There were economic difficulties. 4 6.15 3 16.67 1 2.13 0.21
 It was expected to be helpful in forming personal connections for academia or employment. 5 7.69 3 16.67 2 4.26 0.33
 I expected to gain research experience or learn something new 22 33.85 13 72.22 9 19.15 <0.01
 I hoped that it would be helpful to my research performance or to obtaining data. 11 16.92 6 33.33 5 10.64 0.31
 It was difficult to refuse because it was an order from my advisor (including implicit instructions). 18 27.69 5 27.78 13 27.66 0.95
 It was difficult to refuse because it was an order from a senior (including an implicit instructions). 2 3.08 0 0.00 2 4.26 1.00
 It is a customary 7 10.77 0 0.00 7 14.89 0.43

N, number; SD, standard deviation; Adj p val, adjusted p value

Table 7
Intention and Awareness about Fostering Research Activity
Total Full-time Part-time

Mean SD Mean SD Mean SD
Satisfaction with research activity support 1.77 0.98 1.67 0.97 1.80 0.99

N % N % N %

Applying for research activity support (yes) 21 32.31 12 66.67 9 19.15

Selected as a research activity support project 15 71.43 9 75.00 6 66.67

Reasons for not applying for research activity support project
 I was unaware of the presence a support project 17 38.64 5 83.33 12 31.58
 I was aware of the support project’s existence but didn’t feel the necessity to apply 4 9.09 0 0 4 10.53
 I had the intention to apply, but there were no applicable support projects available 9 20.45 1 16.67 8 21.05

Intention to apply fostering research activity 35 53.85 16 88.89 19 40.43

Acknowledgement of fostering research activity
 Comprehensive understanding 4 6.15 3 16.67 1 2.13
 Partial awareness 28 43.08 9 50.00 19 40.43
 Complete unawareness 32 49.23 6 33.33 26 55.32

N, number; SD, standard deviation

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