Ensuring Student Competence in Essential Dental Consultation Communication Skills for Patient Care: Developing, Validating and Piloting a Comprehensive Checklist

JOURNAL TITLE: World Journal of Dentistry

1. Sunila B Sangappa
2. Shital Bhandary
3. Thomas V Chacko
Publishing Year
Author Affiliations
1. com.mps.common.model.Contributor@7a9243ce ,
2. com.mps.common.model.Contributor@2d0f1ec6 ,
3. com.mps.common.model.Contributor@6107e61a
Article keywords
Assessment tool, Checklist development, Competency, Dental communication checklist, Dental consultation, Dentist–patient interaction, Validation


Aim: Ability to communicate effectively as a core competency for dental practitioners is deemed important for a patient-centered practice. This study aims to pilot the process of developing and using a comprehensive checklist for ensuring student competence in essential dental consultation communication for patient care. Materials and methods: A total of 87 third-year dental undergraduate students’ videotaped patient interviews were independently rated by six raters to evaluate the psychometric properties of the developed Dental Consultation Communication Assessment Checklist (DCCAC). Students were given training in basic consultation communication skills and patient interview techniques according to the developed DCCAC. Improvement in communication was assessed in pre-intervention and post-intervention using the checklist for giving feedback on performance of real patient examination. Results: The majority of faculty (84%) and patients (93%) gave positive feedback (satisfaction) on the process and 87% of the students’ feedback indicated they would use their learning regarding communication skills in the future (transfer to practice). This comprehensive tool was found to be highly reliable with internal consistency reliability (Cronbach\'s alpha) of 0.987. Construct validity of the tool was examined through principal components analysis with varimax rotation. Based on the principal component analysis, new extracted domains demonstrated very high internal consistency (Cronbach\'s alpha range = 0.975–1.00). Conclusion: The product arising from the development and psychometric testing of DCCAC for undergraduate dental students has the potential to be used as a valid tool to assess clinical competence during a patient interview and provide specific and formative feedback/self-reflection for consciously improving performance during the next patient encounters. Self-reflection during formative years will also make them reflective practitioners engaging in continuing professional development (CPD) in the future. Clinical significance: The DCCAC developed by us would ensure that dental graduates will be competent in dental consultation communication and use the habit of self-reflection to engage in CPD to improve the quality of patient-centered care.

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