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An innovative behavioral science curriculum at the University of Tennessee College of Dentistry.

Seeberg, Marcia S; Scarbecz, Mark; Hottel, Timothy L.
J Tenn Dent Assoc; 93(1): 31-7; quiz 38-9, 2013.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-23909086
Communication skills have long been associated with practice success in dentistry. The Commission on Dental Accreditation's standards state that "Graduates must be competent in the application of the fundamental principles of behavioral sciences" and that "Graduates must be competent in managing a diverse patient population and have...interpersonal and communications skills." A recent survey of U.S. dentists found an underutilization of communication skills by general dentists. The University of Tennessee College of Dentistry strives for continuous improvement and has implemented an innovative behavioral science curriculum to improve students' communication skills, consistent with the College's "patient-centered, comprehensive care" philosophy. We describe the design and implementation of our "Patient-Centered Dentistry" course, in which third-year dental students practice communication skills with simulated patients in the Kaplan Clinical Skills Center on the UTHSC campus. The clinical simulations involve the following scenarios The Initial Interview with a Patient, Presenting a Treatment Plan, Treating Patients with Fear and Anxiety, Interviewing Considerations for Difficult Patients, Delivering Distressing News to Patients, and Coping with a Drug-Seeking Patient. Student simulations were videotaped and assessed by course instructors as well as clinical faculty, and students received immediate feedback by instructors and clinical faculty after their simulations. Students were provided with the opportunity to view their simulation performance and to reflect on their performance in order to recognize their communication strengths as well as areas for improvement. The use of simulation experiences is becoming a widespread and expected practice in health care education. The Patient-Centered Dentistry course provides students with the opportunity to experience the kinds of real-life situations that they would experience in dental practice, without risks to patients. It provides students with the opportunity to assess their communication skills, make mistakes and improve.