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Keywords:

  • problem-based learning;
  • dental graduate;
  • competency;
  • dental practice

Abstract

Objectives:  To determine how prepared for dental practice graduates from the integrated problem-based learning (PBL) dental undergraduate curriculum at The University of Hong Kong (HKU) perceive themselves to be and to identify factors associated with self-perceived preparedness.

Materials and methods:  A postal questionnaire was sent to five cohorts of dentists who had graduated from HKU’s integrated PBL curriculum between 2004 and 2008. Using a 4-point Likert scale, the questionnaire assessed the self-perceived level of preparedness in 59 competencies grouped in nine domains. Responses were dichotomised into ‘poorly prepared’ and ‘well prepared’.

Results:  The response rate was 66% (159/241). The mean proportion (± standard deviation) of respondents indicating well-preparedness was 72.0 ± 15.1% overall, and for each domain was as follows: general patient management, 93.1 ± 12.1%; practice management, 81.0 ± 22.2%; periodontology and dental public health, 73.5 ± 19.3%; conservative dentistry, 92.5 ± 13.1%; oral rehabilitation, 62.8 ± 24.0%; orthodontics, 23.0 ± 32.9%; managing children and special-needs patients, 64.8 ± 28.9%; oral and maxillofacial surgery, 52.2 ± 25.2%; and drug and emergency management, 84.7 ± 22.6%. The odds of self-perceived well-preparedness were increased for cohorts graduating in 2004 and 2005 and graduates working in a non-solo dental practice.

Conclusions:  Dental graduates of HKU’s integrated PBL curriculum felt well prepared for the most fundamental aspects of dental practice. However, apparent deficiencies of training in orthodontics and oral and maxillofacial surgery will need to be addressed by continuing education, postgraduate training and planning for the new 6-year undergraduate curriculum in 2012.