Fostering Professional Development Among UK Dental Undergraduates with a Dental Scrubs Ceremony: Findings of a Two Year Study

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 16:12
Location: H├Ârsaal 17 (Juridicum)
Oral Presentation
Patricia NEVILLE, University of Bristol, United Kingdom
Andrea WAYLEN, University of Bristol, United Kingdom
Lisa MCNALLY, University of Bristol, United Kingdom
Professionalism is a key aspect of the teaching and training of dental students. However, the task of instructing professionalism to dental students can be challenging (e.g. Ziljistra-Shaw, Robinson and Roberts 2013, Riley and Kumar 2012, Coulehan 2005). Students tend to understand professionalism as a set of behaviours (Riley and Kumar 2012, p.9) that they are told they must adhere to or avoid, rather than appreciate professionalism as ‘a special form of personal and professional formation’ (Inui 2003 quoted in Coulehan 2005, p. 895). While students need to have a clear ‘cognitive base’(Cruess and Cruess 2006, p.205) in terms of what professionalism entails in the first place, the formal curriculum must also be supported by an informal curriculum and organisational culture which sustains and reinforces the socialisation of their fledgling professional identities(Birden and Useherwood 2013, p.380).

This conference paper documents a pilot initiative at a UK Dental School to strengthen its informal curriculum on professionalism with the introduction of a scrubs ceremony for its second year students. The Scrubs ceremony was inspired by the White Coat ceremonies that medical students have in North America universities (e.g. Huber 2003, Karnieli-Miller, Frankel, Veatch 2002). This event marks the students’ first step in their professional and clinical development, as they transition from pre-clinical to clinical stage of their studies, with the public presentation of dental scrubs to the student cohort and the recitation of a pledge of conduct.  An evaluation of this initiative and its impact on students and faculty staff’s perception of dental professionalism will be presented and discussed.