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Dental Student’s Attitude Towards Learning Communication Skills

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    The effective communication between health care professionals & their patients play a pivotal role in clinician’s career profile. Therefore rapport between the patient & clinician must be well established. Communication is a two way process which involves the simultaneous understanding & empathy of both parties. Communication skills can be defined as ability to communicate effectively with patients, use active listening skills, gather & convey information effectively , handle patient’s emotions sympathetically & demonstrate empathy, rapport, ethical awareness & professionalism.(1)

    A healthy communication establishes a good interpersonal relationship between dentist & patient. Besides, the treatment plan formulated by clinician, the other aspects of consulting & talking is also important. Before initiating the treatment, per se for patients ‘ ailment, the diagnosis mandatory.

    The diagnosis cannot be fully perceived without hearing the symptoms & sufferings of patient.(2) Thus, exchange of information which is mandatory for clinician’s diagnosis is the outcome of an effective communication. If the patient gets comfortable in the presence & aura of his treating dentist, he expresses his problems without hesitations. Also, the stress factor in patient reduces automatically, thus enhancing professional satisfaction of dentist.(3)

    The real expectations of patients are realised only after an effective rapport between dentist & patient is established. So, the dentist must be careful with his speaking skills. The dentist must not overplay or underplay his speaking skills with patient. The dentist’s words must be proper & adequate just to satisfy the patient’s expectations & understand his core symptoms. (4)

    In due course of treatment planning, the importance of speaking skills is well realised by the clinician. Besides, the usage of appropriate words, there are various determinants to effective communication which include: voice, body language & facial expressions. (5) The throw of words & voice are sometimes even more effective than monologues talking. Especially in case of geriatric & paediatric population, the tone of voice & friendly gesture play an integral part in verbal communication.

    There are various factors which influence the behaviour of dentist. These factors include: demographic variables, the location of clinical settings, experience of clinician & most importantly mood of dentist on a particular day. The above factors may influence the attitude of clinician in a negative or a positive way. (6) Therefore dentist should take stringent & consistent effort to influence the factors in a positive manner. (7)

    There is an implicit need for developing good communication skills among clinicians. So, prior importance should be given to it besides the theoretical & practical knowledge in regard with subject. Also, due to the rising trend of emerging dentists all over India, the exemplary speaking skills distinguish a dentist from others. There must be certain efforts taken in regard to inculcate these skills in each & every dentists. The Dental Council of India (DCI) has no specific recommendations for including these skills in its undergraduate curriculum.

    Therefore, the DCI must include the communication skills training sessions in its curriculum. In India, the B.D.S. course consists of total 5 years which includes, 2 years of preclinical training, 2 years of clinical training followed by 1 year of internship(8). Thus, the year in which students are clinically inducted must include certain workshops & training sessions in regard with communication skills. There must be efforts taken by every teacher of college to examine their student’s individually with this respect.

    The Pivotal role of effective speaking skills of dentists with their patient is well realised amongst all professionals. Hence, our study aimed to assess the attitude of dental students towards learning communication skills.

    A cross-sectional study was conducted among dental students in Sharad Pawar Dental college, Sawangi(Meghe) Wardha. Ethical approval was obtained by the Institutional Ethic Committee before commencing the study. The students were informed about the objectives of the study and those who were willing to participate were included in the study. They were informed that their participation was voluntary with no incentives provided.

    The study was conducted among 300 dental students including from 4th year, interns, and postgraduate students.. The questionnaire included demographic details including(Name, age, gender, socioeconomic status) followed by Three questions of self-assessment like Grade obtained in last Examination, four questions testing communication skills knowledge such as Positive body language you use while speaking, Thirteen questions evaluating the attitude towards communication skills of dentists& about mannerism like You should greet the patient by name.

    Responses were rated on a five-point Likert scale from strongly disagree, disagree, neutral, and agree to strongly agree. Likert rating scale ranging from five (strongly agree) to one (strongly disagree). A Pilot study was done for reliability analysis. Reliability was 0.848. Data were collected, revised, coded and fed to statistical software IBM SPSS version 20. Descriptive statistics were used to describe demographic and communication skill-related variables of the study participants.

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    Dental Student’s Attitude Towards Learning Communication Skills. (2021, Sep 30). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/dental-students-attitude-towards-learning-communication-skills/

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