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Organisational aspects of dental practices: do dental students think like patients or like general dental practitioners?

Authors

  • R. E. Sonneveld,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Preventive and Restorative Dentistry, School of Dentistry, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
    • Correspondence

      Rutger Sonneveld

      Department of Preventive and Restorative Dentistry

      School of Dentistry

      Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre

      PO Box 9101

      6500 HB Nijmegen

      The Netherlands

      Tel: +31 24 3619563

      Fax: +31 24 3540265

      e-mail: r.sonneveld@dent.umcn.nl

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  • W. G. Brands,

    1. Department of Preventive and Restorative Dentistry, School of Dentistry, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
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  • E. M. Bronkhorst,

    1. Department of Preventive and Restorative Dentistry, School of Dentistry, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
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  • J. V. M. Welie,

    1. Center for Health Policy and Ethics, Creighton University, Omaha, NE, USA
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  • G. J. Truin

    1. Department of Preventive and Restorative Dentistry, School of Dentistry, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
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Abstract

Introduction

In view of transparency in health care, the widespread desire for more patient-centred care, and in an attempt to facilitate educational programmes that effectively respond to these changes, two research questions are formulated: (i) How do dental students rate the importance of various organisational aspects of dental practices compared with dental patients and general dental practitioners (GDPs), and what prescripts, defined as specific operational responsibilities of GDPs in these matters, do dental students propose? and (ii) In doing so, do students resemble patients or GDPs?

Methods

In two survey studies, dental students (= 198), patients (= 3127) and GDPs (= 303) were asked to rate by questionnaire the importance of 41 organisational aspects of a general dental practice and proposed specific operational responsibilities (‘prescripts’).

Results

Seven of 41 aspects were rated as important by the majority of the students. Although in a different rank order, three aspects were predominantly selected by all three groups: continuing education, accessibility by telephone and Dutch-speaking GDP. For most aspects, significant differences were found between the prescripts proposed by students and those proposed by patients, and few differences were found between students and GDPs.

Conclusion

The findings do not permit the general conclusion that the views of dental students resemble those of patients or GPDs. Looking at the overall rank order, the three respondent groups showed a great resemblance although significant differences were found for specific aspects. With regard to the proposed prescripts, students showed realistic views and the majority wants to participate in continuing education and work with protocols and guidelines. In this, they tend to resemble GDPs more than they resemble patients.

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