Preclinical to clinical transition experiences of dental students at an Australian regional university

Malau-Aduli, Bunmi S., Lee, Andrew, Alele, Faith, Adu, Mary, Drovandi, Aaron, and Jones, Karina (2022) Preclinical to clinical transition experiences of dental students at an Australian regional university. European Journal of Dental Education, 26 (1). pp. 182-196.

PDF (Author Accepted Manuscript) - Accepted Version
Download (1MB) | Preview
View at Publisher Website:


Introduction: Clinical experience is a crucial component of dental education as it prepares students for real-world practice. Our study aimed to investigate the transition from preclinical to clinical training experiences of dental students at a regional Australian dental school.

Materials and Methods: A mixed-methods study was conducted using a survey and focus groups. Participants were dental students who recently transitioned into clinical training. Survey data were analysed quantitatively using descriptive statistics, whilst the qualitative data were thematically analysed using the conceptual framework of organisational socialisation theory (OST).

Results: Forty-eight of the 69 students in the cohort completed the survey and 10 participated in the focus groups. The quantitative findings revealed that the transition was perceived to be abrupt and associated with a heavy workload. However, orientation sessions and engaging in chairside teaching made transitioning into clinical studies easier. The qualitative findings revealed that the transition process occurred in three phases. In phase 1, participants navigated the educational and social challenges using developmental characteristics such as resilience and positivity. Lessons learnt in phase 1 were used to make necessary learning adjustments in phase 2 and this subsequently enhanced developmental growth in the final phase, which helped ease the transition.

Conclusion: This study confirms that transitioning into clinical training can be complex. However, the educational and socialisation challenges associated with the transition can provide stimulating developmental learning opportunities that advance students’ adjustments to the clinical environment with positive, empowering and motivational outcomes that facilitate a smooth transition.

Item ID: 67911
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1600-0579
Keywords: Clinical transition; dental education; organisational socialisation theory; university students
Copyright Information: © 2021 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd
Funders: James Cook University (JCU)
Date Deposited: 11 Jun 2021 02:10
FoR Codes: 39 EDUCATION > 3901 Curriculum and pedagogy > 390110 Medicine, nursing and health curriculum and pedagogy @ 100%
SEO Codes: 20 HEALTH > 2099 Other health > 209999 Other health not elsewhere classified @ 100%
Downloads: Total: 613
Last 12 Months: 134
More Statistics

Actions (Repository Staff Only)

Item Control Page Item Control Page