This article describes a new tooth notation system designed to be implemented for educational purposes in dental schools in Malaysia and Pakistan for identification of teeth and subsequently dental communication for wellness of dental patients. Its format is constructed as a lesson plan to present an uncomplicated tooth notation system by first letter of each tooth class (I-incisor, C-canine, P-premolar, and M-molar) to describe and communicate dental information. The new system is a promising and potential educational lesson that is innovative in its contents, easily understandable, and usable in dental charting as indicated by the results of a pilot study. However, further studies are required to investigate the strength of this new system.
Health economics, a special branch of science applying economic principles to the health delivery system, is a relatively young subdiscipline. The literature is scanty about teaching health economics in the medical and dental fields. Delivery methods of this topic vary from one university to another, with lectures, seminars, and independent learning reported as teaching/learning tools used for the topic. Ideally, debates should foster the development of logical reasoning and communication skills. Health economics in dentistry is taught under the community oral health module that constitutes part of an outcome-based dental curriculum in a private dental school in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. For this study, the students were divided into two groups: active participants (active debaters) and supporting participants (nonactive debaters). The debate style chosen for this activity was parliamentary style. Active and nonactive debaters' perceptions were evaluated before and after the activity through a structured questionnaire using a five-point rating scale addressing the topic and perceptions about debate as an educational tool. Cronbach's alpha coefficient was used as a measure of internal consistency for the questionnaire items. Among a total of eighty-two third-year dental students of two successive cohorts (thirty-eight students and forty-four students), seventy-three completed the questionnaire, yielding a response rate of 89 percent. Students' responses to the questionnaire were analyzed with the Kruskal-Wallis analysis of variance test. Results revealed that the students felt that their interest in debate, knowledge of the topic, and reinforcement of the previous knowledge had improved following participation in the debate. Within the limitations of this study, it can be concluded that debate was a useful tool in teaching health economics to dental students.
This study is part of ongoing educational research conducted by the Department of Conservative Dentistry, University of Malaya, Malaysia, to evaluate the perception of clinical pairing. A thirteen-question survey was distributed to 148 dental students after they had experienced four-handed dentistry. The objectives were to identify the advantages, disadvantages, and the acceptance of the implementation of clinical pairing from the students' point of view. The responses from the open-ended questions were categorized into six main themes (areas of interest): quality-related (Q), patient-related (PT), partner-related (P), lecturer-related (T), infection control (IC), and learning environment (L). Data analysis was done using SPSS version 18. Results indicated that the students perceived they possessed enough knowledge regarding clinical pairing. However, it was found that they still preferred to work independently as compared to working in pairs. The benefits of clinical pairing may not be viewed in the same vein by both dental students and teachers. The quality-related theme was perceived by students as the main advantage of clinical pairing, whilst the partner-related theme was perceived otherwise. The study also revealed that students may have some preconceived notions about pairing that may have impaired their acceptance. As a consequence, some reluctance was seen in their responses.
Most dental schools lack a module on prescription writing in pharmacology. This study assessed the prescription writing skills of a group of Malaysian dental students at the end of their undergraduate training program. A quantitative study of a two-group posttest experiment was designed, and thirty-seven fifth-year (final-year) dental students were divided into two groups (A [n=18] and B [n=19]). Group A received a didactic lecture on how to write a complete prescription, while Group B served as a control group. For prescription writing, three standardized dental scenarios with a diagnosis of irreversible pulpitis associated with a child and a pregnant woman and periapical pulpitis for an adult man were administered. Thus, a total of 111 prescriptions (Group A [n=54] and Group B [n=57]) were collected. Twelve elements in each prescription were assessed by frequency and a chi-square test. Improvements in eight out of the twelve elements were observed in prescriptions written by students in Group A. The significantly improved elements were provision of the symbol R(x) (39.8 percent) (p<0.001), inclusion of the prescriber's signature (75.3 percent) (p<0.001), inclusion of the date with the prescriber's signature (54.6 percent) (p<0.001), and inclusion of the prescriber's registration (30.5 percent) (p<0.001). Overall, Group A gained almost a 50 percent improvement in writing complete prescriptions due to the intervening lecture. It appeared a traditional lecture led to the more accurate writing of a complete prescription. It was suggested that a module on prescription writing be added to the school's pharmacology curriculum, so that dental graduates will be competent in prescription writing for the sake of their patients' health.
The Ministry of Higher Education in Malaysia has called for the implementation of a soft skills module in all public universities in Malaysia. In response to this and as part of curriculum development efforts for a new integrated program for 2011, a study was undertaken to improve the University of Malaya (UM) Faculty of Dentistry's communication skills course. One of the study objectives was to investigate dental students' attitudes towards communication skills learning and the association between their attitudes and demographic and education-related characteristics. A cross-sectional survey--using a self-administered twenty-four-item adapted Communication Skills Attitude Scale (CSAS) that contained both positive (PAS) and negative (NAS) attitude subscales--was carried out targeting all final-year dental students at the UM and the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM). A total of 148 students completed the survey, yielding a response rate of 88.1 percent. Overall, UKM students had significantly more positive attitudes towards communication skills learning (PAS score: mean=48.69, SD=4.48, p<0.001) than UM students (mean=46.03, SD=4.22). There was no statistically significant difference in negative attitudes between the two groups. UKM students with more positive attitudes tended to be female (p<0.05). UM students with more negative attitudes perceived themselves as poor communicators (p<0.05), and UKM students with more negative attitudes tended to have poor English proficiency (p<0.05). This study found that both UM and UKM final-year dental students have positive and negative attitudes towards learning communication skills. These attitudes were significantly associated with certain background and education-related attributes. Outcomes of this study served as a valuable guide in strengthening the communication skills course for the UM's new, integrated dental curriculum.
Teaching and learning activities in the dental clinic or hospital are a challenging area for students as well as teachers. With various teaching methodologies being used in dental schools around the world, gaining greater understanding of students' attitudes toward these methodologies would be useful for dental educators. The objective of this study was to explore the preferences of dental students in India about various aspects of lecture courses. A structured survey consisting of ten closed-ended questions was developed, and 2,680 undergraduate students from forty-three dental schools in India were approached via e-mail with a follow-up postal mailing. Of these, 1,980 students responded, for a response rate of 73.8 percent. Most of the students reported preferring lectures with the aid of PowerPoint and chalkboard. They preferred morning lectures from 8 am to 10 am for a maximum of thirty to forty minutes for each lecture, and they preferred to receive information about the lecture topic in advance. The students said that delivery of clinical demonstrations was beneficial after the lectures, and they preferred learning-based rather than exam-oriented education. The respondents also said that attendance should be made compulsory and that numerical marking of examinations should not be replaced by a grading system.
The purpose of this study was to explore the University of Malaya (UM) dental graduates' competence in holistic care in real settings from the employers' and graduates' perspectives. A self-administered questionnaire consisting of ten domains was sent to thirty senior dental officers of the Ministry of Health (MOH) and 164 UM graduates. In this article, nineteen major competencies that best represent the graduates' competence in the provision of holistic care are discussed. Each competency was rated on a scale of 1 (very poor) to 4 (very good) and was categorized as "poor and of major concern" (if less than 60 percent of respondents scored good or very good), "satisfactory and of minor concern" (60-69 percent), or "excellent" (70 percent and above). One hundred and six out of 164 graduates (64.6 percent) and twenty-nine out of thirty employers (96.7 percent) responded. Overall, the employers rated the graduates lower than what the graduates rated themselves on all items. While the graduates felt they were excellent and satisfactory in sixteen out of nineteen items (84.2 percent), the employers felt they were poor in fourteen out of nineteen (73.7 percent). Both groups agreed that the graduates were excellent in communication, but poor in life-saving skills, obtaining patient's family and psychosocial histories, and recognizing signs and symptoms (not intraoral) indicating the presence of a systemic disease. In conclusion, although the graduates felt competent in the majority of the holistic care competencies, the employers had some reservations over such claims. Outcomes of the study led to recommendations to incorporate longer community-based learning hours, an improved behavioral science component, a module for special care patients, and multidepartmental collaborative teachings in the new integrated program aimed for implementation in 2011.
Meeting the oral health care needs of the growing population of people with special health care needs (SHCN) starts with dental students' acquisition of sound knowledge and development of clinical competence at the predoctoral level. The aim of this study was to review the level of undergraduate education in Special Needs Dentistry (SND) in Malaysian and Australian dental schools. The deans of all six Malaysian public dental schools and eight of nine Australian dental schools participated in a postal survey on current undergraduate didactic and clinical training in SND at their institutions. The results showed the number of dental schools in Malaysia with teaching in SND as a specific discipline was relatively low compared to that of Australia. However, a high percentage of Malaysian and Australian dental schools reported incorporating teaching of SND into pediatric dentistry (83.3 percent vs. 75 percent), oral medicine/oral pathology (66.7 percent vs. 75 percent), and oral surgery (66.7 percent vs. 25 percent). Most respondents said their school delivered SND clinical training in dental school clinics, hospital-based settings, and residential aged care facilities. Respondents in both countries viewed lack of faculty expertise as the greatest barrier to providing SND education. The study provides valuable information that can direct SND curriculum development in the two countries.
This study investigated the impact of clinical audit training on record-keeping behavior of dental students and students' perceptions of the clinical audit training. The training was delivered to Year 4 and Year 5 undergraduates at the School of Dentistry, International Medical University, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It included a practical audit exercise on patient records. The results were presented by the undergraduates, and guidelines were framed from the recommendations proposed. Following this, an audit of Year 4 and Year 5 students' patient records before and after the audit training was carried out. A total of 100 records were audited against a predetermined set of criteria by two examiners. An email survey of the students was also conducted to explore their views of the audit training. Results showed statistically significant improvements in record-keeping following audit training. Responses to the email survey were analyzed qualitatively. Respondents reported that the audit training helped them to identify deficiencies in their record-keeping practice, increased their knowledge in record-keeping, and improved their record-keeping skills. Improvements in clinical audit teaching were also proposed.
Student-generated videos provide an authentic learning experience for students, enhance motivation and engagement, improve communication skills, and improve collaborative learning skills. This article describes the development and implementation of a student-generated video activity as part of a knowledge, observation, simulation, and experience (KOSE) program at the School of Dentistry, International Medical University, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It also reports the students' perceptions of an activity that introduced first-year dental students (n=44) to clinical scenarios involving patients and dental team aiming to improve professional behavior and communication skills. The learning activity was divided into three phases: preparatory phase, video production phase, and video-watching. Students were organized into five groups and were instructed to generate videos addressing given clinical scenarios. Following the activity, students' perceptions were assessed with a questionnaire. The results showed that 86 percent and 88 percent, respectively, of the students agreed that preparation of the activity enhanced their understanding of the role of dentists in provision of health care and the role of enhanced teamwork. In addition, 86 percent and 75 percent, respectively, agreed that the activity improved their communication and project management skills. Overall, the dental students perceived that the student-generated video activity was a positive experience and enabled them to play the major role in driving their learning process.
A survey was conducted to assess competencies of dental graduates of the Faculty of Dentistry, University of Malaya, as perceived by the graduates and their employers, based on the five-year undergraduate curriculum introduced in 1995. All senior dental officers in the Ministry of Health (MOH), representing employers, and all 164 dental graduates of the years 2000, 2001, and 2002 were sent a self-administered questionnaire covering eight areas of competency. The respondents had to rate these areas on a scale of 1 (very poor) to 4 (very good). The responses for each area were then dichotomized into poor (1 and 2) and good (3 and 4). If less than 60 percent of the respondents rated an area as good, then it was categorized as needing attention; 60-69 percent as satisfactory; and 70 percent and above as excellent. One hundred and six graduates (64.6 percent) and twenty-nine employers (96.7 percent) responded; of the graduates, 73.6 percent were working in the MOH and 22.6 percent in private practice. About 57.1 percent of employers reported that at least five graduates have worked under them. Graduates (85.7 percent) and employers (83.3 percent) agreed that graduates have excellent skills in communication. Although all graduates perceived their competency to be excellent in the four areas (treatment planning; community-based skills; management, administrative skills, and personal management; and professional development skills), employers felt that these are the areas that are of concern and needed attention. In conclusion, whilst generally the graduates' level of competency in almost all areas is acceptable or good, there are areas of concern that need to be addressed to further improve the five-year curriculum at the University of Malaya.
The objective of this study was to assess dentists' knowledge and use of evidence-based practice (EBP), including their attitudes toward and perceptions of barriers that limit the use of EBP. A cross-sectional survey was used with self-administered questionnaires involving dental practitioners in the state of Selangor, Malaysia. One hundred ninety-three replies were returned, for a response rate of 50.3 percent. More than two-thirds (135/193, 69.9 percent) of the respondents had heard of EBP. Out of the 135 respondents who had heard of EBP, a majority agreed it was a decision-making process based on evidence (127/135, 94.2 percent) and involved a series of steps from formulating the research question, locating and assessing the evidence, to applying it if suitable (129/135, 95.6 percent). Out of the 135 respondents who had heard of EBP, a high percentage agreed that EBP improved their knowledge and skills (132/135, 97.8 percent) and treatment quality (132/135, 97.8 percent). For advice, a majority of the 135 respondents frequently consulted friends and colleagues (123/135, 91.1 percent), made referrals (120/135, 88.9 percent), consulted textbooks (112/135, 83.0 percent), and referred to electronic databases (90/135, 66.7 percent). Out of the 135 respondents, many perceived EBP as very important (59/135, 43.7 percent) and important (58/135, 43.0 percent) and were interested to learn further information about EBP (132/135, 97.8 percent). The main reported barriers were lack of time (87/135, 64.4 percent), financial constraints (54/135, 40.0 percent), and lack of knowledge (38/135, 28.1 percent). A majority of the 135 respondents had knowledge of and positive attitudes towards EBP. However, due to barriers, a majority of them preferred colleagues, textbooks, and referrals for advice instead of seeking evidence from electronic databases.
This multinational survey investigated the relationship between emotional intelligence (EI) and perceived stress (PS) in seven countries. First-year dental undergraduates attending a dental school in England, Greece, Romania, South Africa, Australia, and the United States and three schools in Malaysia were invited to complete a set of questionnaires on age, gender, academic background, satisfaction with career choice, EI, and PS. Of 860 questionnaires distributed, 596 were fully completed--a response rate of 69.3 percent. Mean EI score was 123.8 (95 percent CI 122.7-124.9), and mean PS score was 19.1 (95 percent CI 18.6-19.7). Significant differences in EI and PS scores were detected between different countries. Females (p<0.05), younger students (p<0.001), those without a previous higher education qualification (p<0.001), and those not satisfied with their decision to study dentistry (p<0.001) were more likely to report PS when compared to their counterparts. A significant inverse relationship (coefficient=-0.29, p=0.001) between EI and PS was detected. Independent significant predictors of PS identified were gender (beta=0.22, t=5.71, p=0.001), previous higher education qualification (beta=-0.14, t=-2.42, p=0.010), satisfaction with decision to study dentistry (beta=-0.20, t=-5.11, p=0.001), and EI (beta=-0.24, t=-6.09, p=0.001), with the latter being relatively the most important predictor. In conclusion, the inverse relationship between EI and PS has been confirmed in this heterogeneous sample representing diverse sociocultural and academic contexts of dental undergraduates.
Empathy has been identified as a crucial foundation in building an effective dentist-patient relationship. The aim of this study was to assess patients' perceptions of dental students' empathic care in the primary oral health care clinic at International Medical University in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in May-October 2014. The study also assessed the validity and reliability of the Consultation and Relational Empathy (CARE) Measure in this setting; the association between number of encounters and students' CARE Measure scores; and the association between students' empathy (measured by the Toronto Empathy Questionnaire) and CARE Measure scores. Participants were 283 patients (aged ≥18 years) who were asked to self-complete the ten-item CARE Measure immediately after their clinical encounter with students who provided care under supervision of the teaching staff. The results showed that the CARE Measure demonstrated good internal consistency (Cronbach's α=0.95). A single factor solution emerged, accounting for 69% of the variance. The mean CARE Measure score in the consultations was 43.55±6.14, and 26% of the students achieved the maximum possible score of 50. The mean number of encounters with each student was 2.33±2.78. An increase of one episode was associated with an insignificant average CARE score decrease of 0.05 (-0.28, 0.38), whereas students' empathy was associated with a small increase in average CARE Measure score of 0.63 (0.08, 1.18). These results provide evidence of the measure's ability to support feedback to dental students on their empathy when interacting with patients.
Education in oral health is important to prepare future medical professionals for collaborative roles in maintaining patients' oral health, an important component of general health and well-being. The aims of this study were to determine the perceptions of medical students in Malaysia and Australia of the quality of their training in oral health care and their perceptions of their professional role in maintaining the oral health of their patients. A survey was administered in the classroom with final-year Malaysian (n=527; response rate=79.3%) and Australian (n=455; response rate: 60%) medical students at selected institutions in those countries. In the results, most of these medical students reported encountering patients with oral health conditions including ulcers, halitosis, and edentulism. A majority in both countries reported believing they should advise patients to obtain regular dental check-ups and eat a healthy diet, although they reported feeling less than comfortable in managing emergency dental cases. A high percentage reported they received a good education in smoking cessation but not in managing dental trauma, detecting cancerous lesions, or providing dietary advice in oral disease prevention. They expressed support for inclusion of oral health education in medical curricula. These students' experience with and perceptions of oral health care provide valuable information for medical curriculum development in these two countries as well as increasing understanding of this aspect of interprofessional education and practice now in development around the world.