Coaching in the Clinical Context: The Real Difference in an Interprofessional Dental Curriculum
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Teamwork and collaborative working are imperatives for the dental team to achieve the best possible outomes in provision of care for patients. To achieve this, Griffith University has taken an innovative approach through an interprofessional curriculum for undergraduate dental care professionals. Dentistry, oral health therapy and dental technology students experience 'real life - real time' interprofessional education. Before and after evaluations indicate that interprofessional education contributes significantly to the confidence which dental technicians feel in their interaction with other members of the dental care team and their confidence in optimizing outcomes for the patients they treat. Griffith's Community Research Course, which all programs share, provides a continuous thread of joint working throughout their 3 year Program: a community is selected, its demographics and health needs researched, and a health promotion program introduced and evaluated. Dental technicians, especially in the third (final) year of their degree program, are members of teams caring for a "practice" of patients within the dental teaching clinics: they observe the work of clinical students with patients, offer advice in appliance design, including the selection of suitable shades for artificial teeth, for example, and observe levels of patient satisfaction. Further development of the curriculum is needed to maximize the wider benefits of interprofessional education, such as joint practice after graduation. To enable the full potential to be reached, individual academic staff and, crucially, managers of clinics and of teaching, need to embrace fully the ideals of interprofessional education. This is the first study of its kind involving dental education in Australia. Work is continuing to further invigorate interprofessional relationships between oral health care students and professionals in the public and private sectors.
Innovate and Educate
Dentistry not elsewhere classified