How prepared are foundation dentists in England and Wales for independent general dental practice?

Ray, M, Milston, Anne Marie orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-7491-5639, Doherty, P and Crean, Stjohn orcid iconORCID: 0000-0001-9336-8549 (2017) How prepared are foundation dentists in England and Wales for independent general dental practice? British Dental Journal, 223 (5). pp. 359-368. ISSN 0007-0610

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Introduction The Graduate Assessment of Preparedness for Practice (GAPP) questionnaire has been shown to be valid and reliable in assessing the preparedness of foundation dentists (FDs) for independent general dental practice (GDP). In this study it is used to establish preparedness at six weeks of dental foundation training (DFT) across England and Wales.Method GAPP questionnaires were sent to all FDs and ESs in England and Wales in mid-September 2012. Part 1 of the GAPP questionnaire collected the descriptive data of respondents. Part 2 comprised 34 'competence areas' designed to reflect the breadth of Preparing for Practice allowing respondents a 7-category Likert style response. Part 3 comprised open questions designed to allow respondents to expand on their views. Quantitative categorical data from Part 2 was analysed using IBM SPSS (version 20). Median scores were analysed and mean rank scores were generated in order to compare FD and ES responses. Part 2 results were cross-tabulated with the Part 1 descriptors and analysed using the Mann Whitney U and Kruskal Wallis H non-parametric tests. Mean rank scores were considered to be statistically significant if P ≤0.05. Part 3 data was analysed thematically using NVivo (version 10).Results FDs and ESs felt that FDs were generally well prepared for independent GDP, although FDs rated their preparedness significantly higher than ESs in all areas. FDs who graduated from 4-year courses felt significantly more prepared across most of the curriculum than those from 5-year courses, and graduates from outside the UK felt less prepared for GDP than those from a UK school.Conclusions FDs appear to be well prepared for independent GDP at six weeks of DFT. FDs rated their preparedness significantly higher than ESs across the curriculum. Coupled with the finding that the more experienced ESs felt their FDs were less well prepared, that may indicate FDs potentially overstate their level of preparedness. FDs who completed 4-year courses were generally more prepared across a range of curricular areas, some of which may reflect differences in the courses they completed, while others may relate to the individual being a graduate on entry to the course. Distribution of questionnaires through DFT schemes has resulted in a large number of respondents which may allow valuable generalisations to be made about the preparedness of graduates entering DFT in the UK.

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