Recognising and responding to domestic violence: exploring the role of student dentists

Croker, Felicity, Carrington, Ann, Baker, S., Shield, Wiiliam, Burmeister, Casey, and Chan, Winson (2017) Recognising and responding to domestic violence: exploring the role of student dentists. In: Proceedings of the 14th National Rural Health Conference. pp. 1-2. From: 14th National Rural Health Conference, 26-29 April 2017, Cairns, QLD, Australia.

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The role of student dental practitioners in recognising, responding and appropriately managing domestic violence within a clinical setting in regional, rural and remote communities has not been investigated previously in Australia. Whilst extensive clinical training is provided to students throughout undergraduate dental degrees, anecdotal reports suggest that they feel ill-prepared for responding appropriately in both practice and the community to women who experience domestic violence. This presentation reports on an innovative partnership between Dentistry and Social Work at James Cook University and the Cairns Regional Domestic Violence Service to collaboratively address this problem through an educational intervention, which was evaluated by dental student researchers.

The aim of the research was to explore dental students' perceptions of the effectiveness and value of the 'Recognise and Respond to Domestic Violence' educational intervention for their clinical placements and to inform dental curriculum design.

A mixed methods approach was taken using pre and post intervention surveys and focus groups in order to identify and document undergraduate dental students' understanding, perceptions and preparedness in managing domestic violence clinically. The intervention involved a series of "Recognise and Respond to Domestic Violence" workshops delivered by expert facilitators for 234 Bachelor of Dental Surgery students in Clinical Years 3 – 5. Knowledge and perceptions of domestic violence before and after the workshops were compared and contrasted. Focus groups then enriched the evaluation data on the value, effectiveness and clinical application of the intervention.

Findings indicated a significant increase in students' understanding, perceptions and theoretical knowledge regarding domestic violence. Students also reported that they were enabled to embed an awareness of domestic violence into their clinical assessment and patient management. Focus group data confirmed the useful nature of the knowledge gained in the workshops. However, the findings indicate that while recognition of domestic violence was achieved, further educational strategies are required to strengthen dental students' confidence in responding appropriately both within clinical practice and the wider community.

Recommendations include embedding the domestic violence content into the undergraduate clinical curriculum. Further strengthening of dental students' capacity to respond to domestic violence should be developed across the clinical years through learning experiences that include simulation and role plays, which provide opportunities to practice techniques and employ strategies that were introduced in the workshops. Although the findings of this small study cannot be generalised, they suggest that this socially accountable, educational initiative would be valuable for other dental programs.

Item ID: 49461
Item Type: Conference Item (Abstract / Summary)
ISSN: 1445-3363
Keywords: domestic violence, student dentists, recognise, respond, refer, training
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Date Deposited: 11 Jul 2017 23:41
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1105 Dentistry > 110599 Dentistry not elsewhere classified @ 70%
16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1607 Social Work > 160799 Social Work not elsewhere classified @ 30%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9299 Other Health > 929999 Health not elsewhere classified @ 30%
93 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 9303 Curriculum > 930301 Assessment and Evaluation of Curriculum @ 40%
93 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 9303 Curriculum > 930302 Syllabus and Curriculum Development @ 30%
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