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Effective communication between health care professionals & their patients play a pivotal role in a clinician’s career profile. Therefore rapport between the patient & clinician must be well established. Communication is a two way process that involves the simultaneous understanding & empathy of both parties. Communication skills can be defined as the ability to communicate effectively with patients, use active listening skills, gather & convey information effectively, handle patients’ emotions sympathetically & demonstrate empathy, rapport, ethical awareness & professionalism.
Healthy communication establishes a good interpersonal relationship between dentist & patient.
Besides, the treatment plan formulated by a clinician, the other aspects of consulting & talking is also important. Before initiating the treatment, per se for patients ‘ ailment, the diagnosis is mandatory. The diagnosis cannot be fully perceived without hearing the symptoms & sufferings of the patient. Thus, the exchange of information which is mandatory for a clinician’s diagnosis is the outcome of effective communication. If the patient gets comfortable in the presence & aura of his treating dentist, he expresses his problems without hesitations.
Also, the stress factor in patients reduces automatically, thus enhancing the professional satisfaction of dentists.
The real expectations of patients are realized only after an effective rapport between dentist & patient is established. So, the dentist must be careful with his speaking skills. The dentist must not overplay or underplay his speaking skills with the patient. The dentist’s words must be proper & adequate just to satisfy the patient’s expectations & understand his core symptoms.
In due course of treatment planning, the importance of speaking skills is well realized by the clinician. Besides, the usage of appropriate words, there are various determinants to effective communication which include: voice, body language & facial expressions. The throw of words & voice are sometimes even more effective than monologues talking. Especially in case of the geriatric & pediatric population, the tone of voice & friendly gesture play an integral part in verbal communication.
There are various factors that influence the behavior of dentists. These factors include: demographic variables, the location of clinical settings, experience of clinician & most importantly mood of dentist on a particular day. The above factors may influence the attitude of clinicians in a negative or a positive way. Therefore dentists should take stringent & consistent efforts to influence the factors in a positive manner.
There is an implicit need for developing good communication skills among clinicians. So, prior importance should be given to it besides the theoretical & practical knowledge in regard with the subject. Also, due to the rising trend of emerging dentists all over India, exemplary speaking skills distinguish a dentist from others. There must be certain efforts taken in regard to inculcate these skills in each & every dentist. The Dental Council of India (DCI) has no specific recommendations for including these skills in its undergraduate curriculum. Therefore, the DCI must include communication skills training sessions in its curriculum. In India, the B.D.S. course consists of total 5 years which includes, 2 years of preclinical training, 2 years of clinical training followed by 1 year of internship(8). Thus, the year in which students are clinically inducted must include certain workshops & training sessions in regard to communication skills. There must be efforts taken by every teacher of college to examine their students individually with this respect.
The Pivotal role of effective speaking skills of dentists with their patients is well-realized amongst all professionals. Hence, our study aimed to assess the attitude of dental students towards learning communication skills.
A cross-sectional study was conducted among dental students in Sharad Pawar Dental College, Sawangi(Meghe) Wardha. Ethical approval was obtained by the Institutional Ethics Committee before commencing the study. The students were informed about the objectives of the study and those who were willing to participate were included in the study. They were informed that their participation was voluntary with no incentives provided.
The study was conducted among 300 dental students including from 4th year, interns, and postgraduate students.. The questionnaire included demographic details including(Name, age, gender, socioeconomic status) followed by Three questions of self-assessment like Grade obtained in last Examination, four questions testing communication skills knowledge such as Positive body language you use while speaking, Thirteen questions evaluating the attitude towards communication skills of dentists& about mannerism like You should greet the patient by name. Responses were rated on a five-point Likert scale from strongly disagree, disagree, neutral, and agree to strongly agree. Likert rating scale ranging from five (strongly agree) to one (strongly disagree). A Pilot study was done for reliability analysis. Reliability was 0.848. Data were collected, revised, coded and fed to statistical software IBM SPSS version 20. Descriptive statistics were used to describe the demographic and communication skill-related variables of the study participants.
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