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Keywords:

  • tobacco cessation;
  • curricular development;
  • dental students;
  • education

Abstract

Background

Hungary has one of the highest rates of tobacco use and decayed, missing and filled teeth in Europe, and the number of lung cancer–related deaths per annum is amongst the highest globally. As it is estimated that the rate of smokers who see their dentist or physician annually is about 70%, to involve all healthcare providers in tobacco intervention seems to be a promising strategy to reduce tobacco use in countries like Hungary. Such an intervention should obviously include the dental health team. It has already been suggested by experts on this topic that instruction in tobacco use prevention and cessation counselling for dental professionals and students of dentistry should be included in under- and postgraduate curricula.

Objectives

To present a novel, video feedback–based undergraduate cessation counselling programme, which has recently been introduced to the dental curriculum at the Faculty of Dentistry, Szeged, Hungary.

Methods

Applying a problem-based learning approach, the programme consists of three main activities: a small-group interactive training session led by a faculty member, where students learn about the basic science and clinical aspects of tobacco use, including counselling skills; student interactions with professional actors (i.e. standardised patients) simulating real-life dental situations, which are recorded for post hoc evaluation; and finally an evaluation of the recorded performance of each student, with the participation of the actor, the student and a faculty member.

Results

With the help of this new approach, students had the chance to learn about and develop a deeper understanding of tobacco-related professional dental communication in realistic, case-based dental scenarios. Students have reported increased confidence in tobacco counselling after having participated in this programme. Furthermore, this method appears to be an ideal tool for the evaluation of both verbal and non-verbal tobacco counselling skills.

Conclusion

To our knowledge, we are the first to have applied video feedback combined with behavioural modification methods in the teaching of tobacco cessation counselling. We conclude that teaching method can help dentists better understand smokers, gain confidence in tobacco cessation counselling and become more effective promoters of a smoke-free lifestyle. In addition, this method can be easily adapted to other healthcare educational settings, including other oral health training programmes.