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The perceived impact of the group practice model on enhancing interpersonal skills of predoctoral dental students

Authors Errante MR, Gill GS, Rodriguez TE

Received 13 December 2017

Accepted for publication 15 February 2018

Published 19 April 2018 Volume 2018:10 Pages 11—19


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Russell Taichman

Margaret R Errante,1 Gurjinder S Gill,2 Tobias E Rodriguez3

1Business Development, Dental Health Center, Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine, Boston, MA, USA; 2Business and Strategic Planning and Implementation, Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine, Boston, MA, USA; 3Academy for Academic Leadership, Atlanta, GA, USA

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to assess if a clinical group practice model has an impact on enhancing the interpersonal skills of predoctoral dental students, what factors may influence the development of these skills, and what, if any, are innovative and technological solutions that can potentially influence interpersonal skills in predoctoral dental students.
Methods: This study surveyed the faculty responsible for teaching the dental students in a recently developed group practice model. Out of 18 eligible group practice leaders at one US dental school, 17 respondents (94.4%) completed the survey. In addition, this study asked the faculty to provide qualitative response and recommendations to improve interpersonal skills. Based on the feedback, a focus group was conducted to explore opportunities to further enhance the skills.
Results: The results of the study suggest that the group practice model has a positive and distinct impact on the development of overall interpersonal skills for students. Further research suggests that the greatest impacted areas of personal development are critical thinking skills and teamwork. However, as a way to make the model more effectual, most faculty suggested the need for additional time, for both students and faculty. To some extent, using technology and innovative teaching pedagogies could potentially address the challenge of limited time.
Conclusion: Based on the results of the survey, one may conclude that with adequate design and conditions, the group practice model can have a positive effect on the interpersonal skills of its students.

Keywords: interpersonal skills, teamwork, critical thinking, group practice model, dental education, innovative solutions

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