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Education Research International
Volume 2015, Article ID 976124, 8 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2015/976124
Research Article

Preparedness and Practice Management Skills of Graduating Dental Students Entering the Work Force

School of Dentistry and Oral Health, Griffith University, Gold Coast Campus, Parklands, Southport, QLD 4215, Australia

Received 30 July 2014; Revised 6 November 2014; Accepted 24 November 2014

Academic Editor: Connie Wiskin

Copyright © 2015 Jane Manakil et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Dental education aims to produce competent graduates with the ability to provide quality care to the patients and facilitate the smooth integration into professional practice. The objective of this study was to explore the overall preparedness of graduands for integrating into professional practice. The survey was tested for reliability and analysed the career paths, learning preferences, overall knowledge, and confidence amongst graduating dentists in integrating and managing a dental practice on graduation. Sixty-nine students (89.6%) in age group of 20–50 years participated in the study. Students indicated a high level of confidence in their skills and ability to work in a team in a practice or collaboratively with other colleagues and specialists but expressed some reservation on their practice management skills (73.1%). Challenges in gaining employment and pressures to repay educational debts are amongst the reasons for graduands preferring a paid job immediately on graduation regardless of demographics. Students indicated that an increase in speciality training and clinical/outreach placements could enhance employability. This study explores the students’ perception of their confidences, knowledge, learning preferences, and practice management skills as a method of evaluating their preparedness to practice on graduation and provides a base line for curriculum structuring to prepare graduands to enter the competitive dental work force.