The effect of community based externships on host sites: A survey of Washington State Community Clinics
Cannava, James Christopher
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Background: This purpose of this study was to better understand the attitudes of community health center dentists towards community-based externships (CBEs) and determine if previous experience supervising dental students affected their opinions. Methods: Ninety-nine dentists in Washington State were asked to complete either an internet or mail-based survey. Of the 69 dentists in Washington State who responded (response rate: 69 percent), 45 had experience supervising dental students participating in CBEs. The survey questioned the effects of CBEs on dental students, patients, the clinic and the dentists themselves. The survey also asked for dentists' opinions on why a clinic would host dental students, who should pay for the program expenses and what incentives should be given to supervising dentists. Results: Nearly all respondents (97 percent) felt that a CBE had a positive impact on a student's education. Dentists with experience supervising dental students were more likely to report the programs' effects on patients and the students' delivered quality of care as neutral or negative (p=0.035 and p=0.034, respectively). The most-preferred incentives for dentists' participation in CBEs were a financial bonus and free continuing education classes. Dentists did not report an increase in overall clinic productivity when a student was present. Ninety-one percent of the respondents did not feel that community-based clinics should pay dental schools when hosting dental students and 56% did not think the clinic should pay for a student's living expenses. Conclusion: More efforts should be made to understand the components of quality of care and how best to maintain it in the CBE setting. Staff dentists should be considered key stakeholders in the design and implementation of CBE programs.
- Dentistry