Preventing Decay: Collaborative partnership between students and staff to prevent deterioration of dental undergraduate practical skills

Susan Mary Jenkins, Keith Wills, Sarah Pick, Sarah Al-Kutubi


In 2012 a collaborative staff-student partnership was formed at The School of Dentistry, Cardiff University, to address concerns that an inflexible curriculum and difficulties finding suitable patients frequently led to long delays between dental students learning practical skills in a skills laboratory and carrying out the same tasks on a patient. This led to students becoming deskilled and losing confidence. The aim of the project was to enable learners and clinical teachers to work together to develop a flexible (but focused) new resource for learning in this context. The local success of the project was evidenced by the high level of student uptake of the new resource, increased student confidence, and demonstration of transfer of learning from a skills laboratory to a clinical setting. However, impact was also achieved in the wider context at institutional level in terms of a change in the philosophy of how practical skills should be taught in dentistry.

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