Objective: To investigate the role of the application of role-play in endodontic study in improving the communication skills of Chinese dental undergraduates prior to their direct interactions with patients at the Fourth Military Medical University’s School of Stomatology, China.
Keywords: communication skills, dental education, endodontic study, role-play, teaching technique
Methods: Students were recruited from the 5-year bachelor’s programme (n = 36) and randomly divided into six groups, and from the 8-year DDS programme (n = 10) and randomly divided into two groups to participate in the role-play training. Cases selected randomly from the case pool were distributed to the groups. The teacher gave an outline of the roles in the simulation. Each member of each group randomly selected their own role for the role-play. Four types of surveys were distributed to students and faculty members at different points after the role-plays had taken place, to evaluate their attitude towards the use of role-plays in endodontic study. Frequency analysis and a one sample t test were used to describe and analyse students’ acceptance of role-play as a teaching technique. The level of statistical significance was set at P < 0.05.
Results: Students’ performance and satisfaction as well as the supporting faculty responses were very favourable towards role-playing. In total, 93.5% of students responded favourably to the role-play, answering ‘strongly agree’ or ‘agree’ to the positive statements about their role-play performance. A total of 95.1% of students stated that they had benefited psychologically and technically from the role-play (‘strongly agree’ or ‘agree’) after their 1-year rotating internship.
Conclusion: The application of role-play in endodontic study is an effective way of educating Chinese dental undergraduates and can be beneficial for their transition from students to dentists.