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A communication-focused curriculum for dental students – an experiential training approach

Alvarez, Simone ; Schultz, Jobst-Hendrik

In: BMC Medical Education, 18 (2018), Nr. 55. pp. 1-6. ISSN 1472-6920

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Background: Successful interaction and communication with patients is as vital for dentists as it is for physicians. Therefore, the aim of this study was the development and evaluation of an interactive, experiential training curriculum with an emphasis on communication for dual degree seekers of medicine and dentistry.

Methods: A pre-clinical course with an emphasis in physician/dentist-patient communication and interaction was adapted by a team of subject experts based largely on the propositions of Experiential Learning Theory. After attending the course, dental students (N = 81) rated the course on a Likert- style scale and answered two open questions.

Results: Students found the interactive course curriculum to be very helpful and vital. Many students reported that their initial interest in the course was mainly because it is a dual degree requirement, but later on rated the course as highly important in terms of later physician/dentist-patient interaction. One aspect of the curriculum course participants regarded as very important, yet neglected during dental studies, was (self-) perception.

Conclusion: In the view of dental students, the rigorous structure of the pre-clinical dental curriculum does not allow for time spent on topics such as (self-) perception and awareness, but training one’s ability to self-reflect and think critically about one’s own actions, conduct or position can aid with advanced medical and dental studies and practices later on. Experiential courses with an emphasis on patient-physician/dentist communication should be offered early on during pre-clinical medical and dental studies as a regular part of the curriculum.

Item Type: Article
Journal or Publication Title: BMC Medical Education
Volume: 18
Number: 55
Publisher: BioMed Central
Place of Publication: London
Date Deposited: 24 Apr 2018 09:37
Date: 2018
ISSN: 1472-6920
Page Range: pp. 1-6
Faculties / Institutes: Medizinische Fakultät Heidelberg > Dekanat der Medizinischen Fakultät Heidelberg
Medizinische Fakultät Heidelberg > Psychosomatische Universitätsklinik
Subjects: 610 Medical sciences Medicine
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