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Keywords:

  • dental graduating students;
  • self-perception of work preparedness;
  • general dental practice;
  • clinical education;
  • self-regulated learning

Abstract

Objectives

The primary goal of dental education is to prepare students to work independently in a dental practice setting following graduation. Whilst academicians assess students' work preparedness through examinations and evaluations, it is equally important to understand the work preparedness as perceived by students.

Methods

All students in their final year of the graduate programme in dentistry were selected for this study. The questionnaire assessed the self-perceived confidence in skills and awareness needed to integrate into a general dental practice. Personal data such as gender, age and income status were optionally recorded. The questionnaire included open-ended questions relevant to the educational experiences and suggestions for improvement from student perspective.

Results

Sixty-three students (81.9%) responded to the questionnaire. The majority of the respondents (85.7%) perceived that their education had prepared them well for a career in dentistry, and 52.4% of the students considered that the combination of community placement and in-house training helped them to enhance clinical skills. Students' suggestion for improvements indicated that a large number would wish for more clinical sessions (71.4%), whilst only 28.6% preferred an equal distribution between general clinical placements, speciality clinical placement and didactic teaching as the essential factors in attaining competency.

Conclusions

Analysing and understanding the student's self-perspective on their dental education and work preparedness contribute towards the quality management of the dental curriculum philosophies: in holistic patient health care, lifelong learning, integration knowledge and skills, leading to the ultimate goal of clinical proficiency.