Development of a rural outplacement programme for dental undergraduates: Students' perceptions
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Objectives: To describe the development and implementation of a new ruraldental outplacement module in the final year curriculum and report initial studentperceptions.Methods: The Melbourne Dental School, University of Melbourne, introduced arequired 4-week rural outplacement [termed Rural Dental Rotation (RDR)] in July2006 to provide education and clinical training to all final year students. Seventy dentalstudents (Bachelor of Dental Science and Bachelor of Oral Health) were rostered ingroups of 6—10 students to Shepparton (Victoria, Australia), from July 2006 to June2007 for 4 weeks per group. Students were introduced to the culture and oral healthneeds of the indigenous population in the region, and were involved in oral healthpromotion in specific health programmes. At the end of each roster students providedfeedback of their experiences through a voluntary anonymous questionnaire.Results: The RDR offered a rural learning experience to all final year dental under-graduates and also provided dental services to the local community on a continuingbasis. Students agreed that the RDR was a worthwhile experience (mean 4.77 ± 0.46on 1—5 scale) and was ‘enjoyable’ (mean 4.71 ± 0.45). There was only one studentwho did not consider rural practice in future. This was because of family reasons. Themajority (79.1%) expressed definite affirmation, whereas some (19.4%) indicated thepossibility of taking up rural practice.Conclusions: Overall feedback indicated that the students found it a very positiveand enjoyable experience. It provided an opportunity to appreciate cultural safety andunderstand the specific oral health needs of indigenous Australians. The key benefit ofsuch a programme to the community is the increased likelihood of attracting newdental graduates to rural areas.
European Journal of Dental Education
Dentistry not elsewhere classified