Psychosocial student functioning in comprehensive dental clinic education: A qualitative study

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Introduction: The aims were to describe first-year clinical dental students’ psychosocial experiences in a known well-functioning comprehensive clinic teaching group (F+Grp) and a known dysfunctional group (Dys-Grp)
and, thus, discover and describe phenomena related to psychosocial functioning of students. These groups were compared and contrasted regarding negative stress symptoms, perfectionism and coping with stress.
Methods: Eight female dental students (mean 26 years old), four in each group, were interviewed after the first clinical year about learning and emotional experiences. The students also rated their perceived stress using a 0-10
scale, where 0 is no stress, and 10 is highest stress. Qualitative analyses involved searching for recurring themes and discovery of categories of clinical and social functioning. All 8 students were revisited as dentists after 8 years and filled out a 15-item survey as longitudinal validation of their first-year clinical experiences and to estimate group consensus and informant accuracy.
Results: Both groups suffered from negative stress symptoms attributed to lack of
time for clinical tasks, worries about work quality with confusion about their own expectations and worries about how others perceived them. Dys-Grp
experienced higher negative stress and maladaptive perfectionism and described crying behaviours, withdrawal and unwillingness to cooperate with others. In contrast, students in F+Grp provided rich content about mutual cooperation related to social networking and positive support. The 8 subjects exhibited high internal consistency (α = .98) in their responses to the follow-up survey about their first year of clinic.
Conclusions: The comprehensive care teaching clinic environment with students
working in groups appeared to provide a possibility for students to support each other for improved stress coping. Unfortunately, the opposite also occurred. Positive, supportive teacher supervision of student challenges related to perfectionism and stress is crucial and requires specific attention.
TidsskriftEuropean Journal of Dental Education
Sider (fra-til)e479-e487
Antal sider9
StatusUdgivet - 2 jul. 2018

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