Methods: A survey was developed and administered to all University of Iowa College of Dentistry fourth-year dental students at two points in time (N=77; July and October 2010). The survey assessed the duration and content of students’ treatment plan presentations. Univariate analyses were performed. The nonparametric Wilcoxon signed rank test was used to determine whether statistically significant differences (p<0.05) in responses existed between the two time points. IRB approval was obtained prior to beginning the study.
Results: 46 students completed the survey at two points in time for a matched response rate of 59.7%. On average, students spent 11-20 minutes presenting a treatment plan to a new patient, with 37% spending more time as the semester progressed. Students spent 1-10 minutes reviewing an accepted treatment plan with a returning patient, with 24% spending more time as the semester progressed. 47% of students frequently presented multiple treatment plans to a patient, but this decreased over time. During the initial presentation of the treatment plan, students were most likely to discuss cost of treatment (98%), number of visits to complete treatment (91%), etiology of treatment needs (80%), and maintenance (78%). Students were least likely to discuss evidence relevant to the planned treatment (13%), case prognosis (67%), and material selection (67%). With the exception of cost, the number of students who discussed the aforementioned aspects of the treatment decreased over time.
Conclusion: As the semester progressed, students changed the amount of time they spent presenting treatment plans to patients and the content they presented to their patients.
Keywords: Behavioral science, Communication, Education research and Teaching
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