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J Dent Educ. 2006 May;70(5):566-70.

A randomized controlled trial of outreach placement's effect on dental students' clinical confidence.

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1
Department of Oral Health and Development, School of Clinical Dentistry, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK. michael.smith@sheffield.ac.uk

Abstract

This randomized controlled trial compared the effects of outreach placement with traditional, exclusively dental school-based clinical experience on students' confidence in providing treatment for patients presenting with common dental problems. Senior dental students (n=49) were allocated at random to existing dental school-based clinics or placement in primary care clinics to work supervised by local dentists. At baseline, students self-rated their global confidence on a five-point scale. These measures were repeated at follow-up, augmented by a transition judgment and a then-test of confidence (asking students to look back and re-rate their pre-placement confidence). Groups were comparable at baseline. Follow-up scores for global confidence were similar between groups. The outreach group scored higher in the transition judgment (mean 3.7, SD 0.9) than the control group (mean 3.1, SD 1.1, P=0.05). In the then-test, on reflection, the outreach group considered their baseline ratings of confidence were overoptimistic (mean then-test scores 3.2, SD 0.9 and baseline 3.7, SD 0.5) while the control group thought theirs were accurate (mean then-test scores 3.8, SD 0.7 and baseline 3.6, SD 0.8, P=0.01). The findings suggest dental outreach training in primary care settings is more effective than dental school training alone in improving students' confidence in tackling clinical situations. The measurement of change in confidence is complicated by shifts in students' internal scales arising from insights gained on outreach.

PMID:
16687642
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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