Perspectives of staff on student outreach placements.

Department of Oral Health and Development, School of Clinical Dentistry, University of Sheffield, UK.
European Journal Of Dental Education (Impact Factor: 1.45). 03/2006; 10(1):44-51. DOI: 10.1111/j.1600-0579.2006.00388.x
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT To explore the perspectives of placement staff on outreach training.
Block clinical placements in primary care settings for dental undergraduates and hygiene and therapy students.
After completion of the placements, 32 participating staff across nine primary care locations took part in qualitative interviews and focus groups. The staff provided data on placement organisation, the students' development and their supervision, and any effects on themselves as hosts.
The major themes included the learning environment, supervision and communication. The staff saw benefits to students in working in a smaller primary care clinic with nursing support and immediately available supervision by a dental generalist. Other benefits included increased confidence, broader clinical experience and applying theoretical learning to new communities. Effective communication and adequate resourcing were critical success factors. There was some disruption of clinics' normal working, but many unanticipated benefits. Staff supported the outreach placements in primary care settings to enhance students' dental education.
These findings provide a planning and evaluation framework for dental educators involved in outreach.

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