Going to the dentist can be a stressful and anxiety-provoking experience. By demonstrating empathy, dentists show that they understand and care about their patients’ concerns. This can help put patients at ease, reduce their anxiety, and build a sense of trust and rapport. Empathetic dentists are more likely to involve patients in the decision-making process, which can lead to better outcomes.
The Universiti Teknologi’s MARA “Comprehensive Care” course for dental undergraduates provides students with a learning opportunity resembling real work-life, with the purpose of nurturing empathy or altruism. The course highlights the importance of a multidisciplinary approach in dental care (multidisciplinary clinics), inclusivity and adaptability to patients from various backgrounds (through service-learning and special care dentistry modules), and critical but ethical delivery of oral healthcare (problem-based learning and literature critical appraisals).
This longitudinal study is designed to assess the empathy and altruism levels in a cohort of clinical dental students when they have gone through the “Comprehensive Care” course.
This will enlighten or strengthen our belief that dental students should be exposed to various disciplines and learning environments from early clinical years to help them develop important healthcare professionals’ attributes, including empathy.