Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on graduating dental interns: the students’ perspective
Background. COVID 19 pandemic has caused an unprecedented change in the way of life of the individual as well as of the society globally. Medical and healthcare education has become virtual, complex, and challenging with minimal real-time experience. Dental education has faced major impacts affecting the skills and preparedness of the graduates. This study aimed to assess the overall impact of the COVID 19 pandemic on graduating dental interns.
Methods. This cross-sectional survey was conducted among the graduating dental interns from various states across India. A specially designed questionnaire was used in our study which consisted of multiple-choice, Likert scale, dichotomous response, open-ended response questions. The 15 item questionnaire focused on 5 domains (i) demographic details (ii) perceptions regarding disrupted academic schedule and switch to E-education (iii) perceptions on its impact on the career (iv) items concerning the mental health and stress (v) potential solutions suggested by the interns.
Results. 316 dental interns responded to this survey. Only 13.6% of them felt that the e-platforms were useful tools for learning. The dental interns felt that Conservative Dentistry and Oral Surgery postings had the maximum impact on clinical skills. Less than one-fourth (23.1%) of them agreed with the fact that they were under parental pressure; 43.4% agreed that the pandemic had affected the confidence and preparedness
to start their clinical practice.
Conclusion. It was observed that the interns faced major challenges due to the missed hours of clinical practice, which affected them in terms of preparedness and confidence in facing their future.