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Dentistry: Studying for a chosen career and the role of family, friends and support in that journey

Johnson, Ilona, Jenkins, Susan and Ginley, Jennifer 2020. Dentistry: Studying for a chosen career and the role of family, friends and support in that journey. European Journal of Dental Education 24 (2) , pp. 335-340. 10.1111/eje.12504

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Introduction Well‐being issues are increasing amongst dental students. Social relationships can be important for student support during their studies. The aim of the study was to explore dental students' feelings towards studying dentistry, social networks and chosen support during this journey. Materials and Methods An anonymous electronic cross‐sectional survey was carried out. All dental students in a single dental school were invited to participate. Participation and answering questions was voluntary. Descriptive analyses were used for categorical data, and qualitative data were analysed thematically. Results In total, 109 students responded. One third reported having a family member from a healthcare profession but most were not related to dental professionals. The majority of students 83% liked the course, 14% said they felt “neutral”, and 5% said they did not like it. The following three themes explained this: (a) demands of the course, (b) being suited to dentistry (eg patient care) and (c) passion for dentistry as a career (or lack of). Most felt their peers were friendly (92%) and supportive (78%) but also competitive (64%). Irrespective of stress, 70% of participants sought help from family and two thirds sought help from student peers. Discussion Most students enjoy studying dentistry despite the demands of the course. Support, workload, feeling suited to the course and a passion for dentistry as a career can affect the experience. Conclusions Family and friends are an important source of support in this process. Further work is needed to explore mechanisms to help family and friends support students.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Dentistry
Publisher: Wiley
ISSN: 1396-5883
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 27 April 2020
Date of Acceptance: 24 January 2020
Last Modified: 02 Feb 2021 22:56

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