Indexed on: 10 Sep '13Published on: 10 Sep '13Published in: Journal of Cranio-Maxillofacial Surgery
Basic skills in oral/CMF surgery should be taught effectively to dental students as surgical skills training is traditionally under-represented in the dental curriculum compared to its later need in daily clinical practice. Rigid curricular time frames and prospectively condensed professional education foster new effective teaching and examination formats. Transmitting and assessing clinical competence objectively (independent of subjective bias), reliably (repeatable, inter-rater consistency) and valid (representative, structured task selection) was intended and evaluated in oral/CMF surgery skills acquisition starting in summer 2009. A small-group practical skills training (PST) day initiated a one-week practical training course, covering previously formulated learning objectives. An objective structured clinical evaluation (OSCE) was held at the end of each semester. Theoretical background knowledge and clinical skills should have to be memorized within a representative number of practical tasks (test stations). A first semester (26 students) used classical practical training alone as controls, the following semesters (171 students) had PST, considered as a study group. All 197 students were assessed with OSCE's over a 3-year period. An instructor held PST based on presentations, videos and practical training, including mannequins, with pairs of students. This included history taking, communication and interpretation of laboratory/image diagnostics, structured clinical facial examination, fracture diagnosis, venipuncture, suturing, biopsy and wire loops on pig jaws for manual and clinical skills, which were later incorporated in OSCE stations. OSCE average results increased from 63.3 ± 9.7% before and to 75.5 ± 10% after the inclusion of PST (p < 0.05). Knowledge diffusion between sittings on the same test date and between consecutive semesters was insignificant. Students and faculty rated their learning/teaching experience "very good" to "good". PST was effective in optimizing clinical skills as evaluated by OSCE.