Aim: The purpose of this study is to present a framework for the potential implementation of children's anxiety levels and perspectives of their experiences receiving treatment from dental students through interviews and drawing into the clinical assessment of dental students.
Materials and methods: A total of 51 patients between the ages of 5 and 8 years were included in the study. Pulp therapy and/or restorative treatment was performed during the first therapeutic session for all participants. Children were asked to draw about themselves at the dentist's and then verbally explain their drawings. Drawings were analyzed using Child Drawing: Hospital (CD: H) to determine the child's anxiety score. Interviews were analyzed using thematic analysis to establish the factors contributing to the patient having a positive/negative experience. The relationships between the children's level of anxiety and their experience were analyzed using correlation and regression analyses against the student clinical assessment data.
Results: Most children in the study exhibited average levels of anxiety and had an overall positive perception of the dentist. The correlation and regression analyses determined that when children presented higher levels of anxiety, the students received statistically significant higher scores in evidence-informed practice (EIP), skills, and their tolerance for error during procedures. No other rubric item was related to the children's anxiety or whether their experience was positive/negative.
Conclusion: Although this study provided a framework for exploring children's anxiety levels and perspectives of their experiences in teaching clinical settings, more research is needed to refine the method for student evaluation.
Clinical significance: This study will enable dental students to meet the needs of child patients, which consequently increases treatment motivation and adherence to dental services as well as reduces the likelihood of patient anxiety and improves patient self-care skills over time.
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