Use of simulators in operative dental education: experience in southern Nigeria
Background: Though the use of simulators in operative dentistry is not new, the teaching and learning practices that take place during clinical sessions in skills laboratories are rarely reported. This study was designed to determine the current practices relating to teaching and learning of dental clinical skills in southern Nigeria.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted among the final year dental students in southern Nigeria using anonymous structured questionnaire as instrument for data collection. The questionnaire items included statements relating to existing teaching and learning practices. A five-point Likert scale response option was provided and descriptive summary statistics was computed.
Results: There were 56 (34.8%) females and 105 (65.2%) males. Most of the students (41.0%) agreed that the theoretical concept behind clinical skills is taught prior to clinical sessions and most agreed that the objectives of each clinical session are stated and that the procedures are usually demonstrated. Most of the respondents (39.8%) agreed that feedback was sometimes embarrassing and given at the end of clinical sessions (76.6%). Equipment breakdown was a major challenge to learning.
Conclusion: Dental education in the skills labs within the region appeared standard. However, feedback should be continuous and constructive. Equipment breakdown was the major constraint to learning.
Key words: Simulators, Dentistry, Clinical skills laboratories, Dentistry, Simulators