Aim: To determine the way in which Malmö University dental graduates perceive their problem-based dental education and evaluate their professional satisfaction.
Method: The first five cohorts (graduating in years 1995–1999) of the problem-based curriculum were invited to participate. Of 166 graduates, 77% responded to a questionnaire comprising 20 questions on aspects of their dental education, professional situations and interest in postgraduate education. They were asked to rank their perception of their dental education and satisfaction with their professional situation on a visual analogue scale (VAS) with endpoints ranging from ‘Not at all’ (1) to ‘Very well’ (10). For other statements, the markings were made on a Likert scale from 1 (not important/not satisfied) to 5 (very important/very satisfied). There were also open-ended questions.
Results: Most respondents perceived their education to prepare them well for a career in dentistry (median score VAS 8), and 90% rated above six on a VAS for their professional satisfaction as dentists. Importance and satisfaction were highly correlated with principles of the curriculum: holistic view, oral health, lifelong learning, integration between theory and clinic, and clinical competence. Forty-five per cent of the graduates noted the problem-based learning approach as the most valuable asset of their education, and 19% cited training in oral surgery as a deficit. Of the respondents, 77% expressed interest in specialist training and 55% in research education.
Conclusion: Problem-based education was perceived to prepare graduates well for their profession, and their professional satisfaction was high.