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In-patient operating exposure for dental undergraduates: a valuable experience?

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Justin DurhamORCiD, Undrell Moore, Dr Michaela Goodson, Professor Peter Thomson


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The General Dental Council, the Association of Dental Education in Europe and the Association of British Academic Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons have all issued syllabuses suggesting undergraduate dental students should gain experience of oral and maxillofacial in-patient operating. Aim To examine whether final year dental students in a UK dental school had observed, and were comfortable providing an explanation of, oral and maxillofacial in-patient operating. Materials and methods Students at Newcastle University's School of Dental Sciences have block allocations to in-patient operating (16 half-day sessions). A questionnaire was distributed to the whole of the final year (n = 78) at the end of these allocations examining different aspects of their exposure to in-patient operating. Results A response rate of 81% (n = 63) was achieved. Those responding reported that they had seen a wide variety of surgery. The most common procedural group that had not been observed was orthognathic surgery (n = 33, 52%). There was no correlation (p > 0.05) between total number of procedural groups observed and total number of procedural groups that students were confident to explain, although there were significant correlations (p < 0.05) between having observed specific operations and having the confidence to explain them. The students felt that the block allocations were beneficial (n = 46, 63%) and offered a variety of free-text reasons for this. Only a minority (n = 24, 38%) had been actively involved in the surgery they had observed, the majority of those individuals having undertaken some suturing (n = 11). Conclusions Students perceive allocations to oral and maxillofacial in-patient operating as beneficial for a variety of reasons. The relationship between having observed a procedure and the individual's perceived ability to explain it appears to be complex. It is difficult to achieve consistent exposure throughout a large year group of undergraduate students, but more targeted learning may be of benefit.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Edwards JP, Durham J, Moore U, Goodson M, Thomson P

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: British Dental Journal

Year: 2012

Volume: 212

Issue: 3

Pages: 135-139

Print publication date: 10/02/2012

ISSN (print): 0007-0610

ISSN (electronic): 1476-5373

Publisher: Nature Publishing Group


DOI: 10.1038/sj.bdj.2012.91


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Funder referenceFunder name
NIHR-CS-011-003Department of Health