New Internship Course at Health Centers for Dental Undergraduates of Babol University of Medical Sciences in 2014: Students' Perception
Objectives: This study aimed to evaluate an innovative internship course at health centers for final-year dental undergraduates and to report initial students’ perceptions.
Materials and Methods: The Department of Community Oral Health, Faculty of Dentistry with the collaboration of the Vice-Chancellor of Health of Babol University of Medical Sciences prepared an educational and clinical training course, named Health Centers Dental Rotation (HCDR), in January 2014. Final year (6th year) dental undergraduates were divided into groups of two or three and worked as an operator or assistant at 12 health centers (six rural and six urban). Students had to fulfill the educational and therapeutic requirements for three weeks. Students' perspectives related to the course objectives were recorded using a five-point Likert scale with a voluntary anonymous questionnaire.
Results: Forty-four dental students, 26 (60%) females and 18 (40%) males, provided oral health care services at the health centers. Based on the students' perspectives, almost all students (95%) realized the limitations of the health centers. The HCDR improved the awareness of 75% of the students about oral health needs and problems of patients referring to these centers. Although 68% of the students declared that participating in this course was a valuable educational experience, 38.6% described it as displeasing.
Conclusion: From the students' perspectives, this course was a worthwhile and positive internship experience and provided an opportunity for students to understand the specific oral health needs of patients attending these health centers and to realize their key role in the oral health system.
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