Interventions For Improving Dental Student’s Interpersonal Communication- A Need Assessment Study

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Dr Nandita Shenoy , Dr Ciraj AM , Dr Gagan Bajaj , Ms Madhumita M , Dr Ashok Shenoy K


Introduction: In this modern era, communication skills are to be given prime importance to meet good outcomes in providing patient care. Deficiency of this skill seems to occur due to a lack of training for students since it is not in the overt curriculum, this necessitates the development of module-based training for it. The gap in communication skills and the ways to teach can well be addressed in the module by proper needs assessment methods. 

Methodology: A mixed-method approach was used in this study. In the first step, curriculum coordinators/key communication skills teachers and faculty members were asked to fill out a validated questionnaire based on the need, methods, and objectives of communication training. They were asked to identify training methods and types based on their knowledge of curricula and teaching experience. This quantitative data was collected using google forms and Microsoft forms and were analyzed. The second step involved a qualitative research design whereby we collected, analyzed data to understand the need for curriculum updates in dental education. The study used the technique of free listing and pile sorting to address the issues of communication skills training to 15 faculty members who had already filled the survey forms and had given consent to be a part of the study. The participants were asked individually to enumerate various perceived ideas on the questions posed. The analysis of the collected data was performed in the statistical program visual anthropac 4.98.1 to obtain the Smith salience index. 

Results: The study results revealed that there is a need to incorporate communication skills training to dental students as they feel that will build confidence, enhance a good doctor-patient relationship, and will make an ideal doctor.

Conclusions: The findings reinforce the need for teaching communication skills in dentistry. The current study provides an opportunity for dental educators to consider the next frontiers to be better equipped with communication skills to improve the strained doctor-patient relationship. 

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