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Effect of community-based clinical teaching programs on student confidence: a view from the United kingdom.

Journal of dental education

Wales, Clinical Competence, Community Dentistry, education, Community-Institutional Relations, Education, Dental, methods, Great Britain, Humans, Preceptorship, Program Evaluation, Questionnaires, Self Efficacy, Students, Dental, psychology, Teaching

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      Abstract

      Over the past few years, community-based clinical teaching programs have become established within many dental schools in the United Kingdom. One such primary care teaching unit was developed to support the dental undergraduate program at Cardiff University in 2002. Students visit this unit throughout their five-year dental school training-as assistants/observers initially, but gaining about twenty-eight days of clinical operating experience each within the unit during their final year of studies. The aim of this article is to report the effect of this teaching program on the confidence of students to perform a range of clinical treatments. The final-year dental class of 2007-08 (n=55) at Cardiff University were asked to rate their confidence in their ability to perform thirty-six selected clinical tasks on a five-point scale prior to commencing their clinical operating experience at the community-based clinical teaching program and again at completion of the one-year program. Completed responses were received from forty-seven students (response rate=85 percent). The same students completed the initial and the final surveys. After one year, there were significant increases (p<0.05) in student confidence in performing thirty of the thirty-six selected clinical tasks. The largest positive change was in the area of endodontics: on a five-point scale, there was an increase of one unit for incisor/canine endodontics, 1.04 units for premolar endodontics, and 1.17 units for molar endodontics. These increases were statistically significant (p<0.05). The next largest positive change was for the provision of bridgework: 0.98 unit increase in confidence for providing conventional bridgework (p<0.05) and 0.91 unit increase for resin-retained bridgework (p<0.05). We conclude that clinical experience within a community-based clinical teaching program can have positive effects on dental students' confidence to perform a wide range of clinical tasks. Further work is needed to identify the benefits of this training on the clinical and professional development of young and recently graduated dentists.

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