The Impact of An IPE Curriculum on Dental Education

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Evans, Jane
Henderson, Amanda
Johnson, Newell
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Janice Chesters and Gillian Nisbet
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Manly Pacific Hotel, Sydney

Aim This research is the first of its kind in Australia and aims to improve our understanding regarding the strengths and limitations of interprofessional dental curricula. Background Teamwork and collaboration are imperative for the dental team to achieve the best possible outcomes in patient care. Griffith University has taken an innovative approach through the introduction of an interprofessional curriculum for a range of undergraduate dental care professionals. Dentistry, oral health therapy and dental technology students experience common lectures, group work and clinical and laboratory team work. Method A quasi experimental design was used to compare a traditional and an interprofessional dental technology curriculum. Three standard self report measures and focus groups were used to collect perceptions and attitudes of dentistry and dental technology students who experienced an interprofessional curriculum and dental technology students from a traditional curriculum. Results Interprofessional education was found to positively influence professional identity, development of roles and improved communication among dentistry and dental technology students and graduates in both professions. Teamwork was not promoted in the traditional dental technology curriculum despite it being a component of the training package Conclusion Further development of the curriculum is needed to maximize such interprofessional learning opportunities, to shift traditional attitudes and, potentially, to improve patient care outcomes. To enable this, individual academics and, crucially, academic and clinical management needs to embrace the ideals of interprofessional education. This is the first study of its kind involving dental education in Australia, and work is ongoing to further invigorate interprofessional relationships between oral health care students and professionals in the workplace.

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Dentistry not elsewhere classified
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