HOW TO ASSESS COMMUNICATION SKILLS IN PEDIATRIC DENTISTRY?

Communication skills are essential for professional performance in Health Sciences. As a result, they are collected within the generic skills that students should acquire during their training period. These skills are not tied to specific matters and therefore they are not included in a formal educational planning. They are rarely included as educational objectives to be achieved, and therefore they are not subjected to an assessment certifying its acquisition by the student.

In Pediatric Dentistry communication skills are particularly relevant as they are part of the techniques of behavioral control of children in the dental office. Furthermore, they have such a specific uniqueness of child patient and the dental environment that can hardly be acquired by the student in Dentistry Degree throughout their training period transversely. These skills should be developed and be acquired by the student in the context of matter (Dentistry) and mastery by the student, objectified during clinical practice with child patients.

In order to facilitate and confirm its acquisition by the student, we have developed assessment tools based on checklists.

Methodology:
We have relied on the Consolidated Medical Education experience and Kalamazoo consensus conferences I and II, adapting the situation to the dental context. From the identification of the key elements of the dentist-Child communication, more objectified and observable behaviors have been structured in subcompetences. His analysis has allowed the design of a checklist of the behaviors observed.

Results:
We have compiled a checklist and rating scale, which establishes different categories in student performance of various communication behaviors (Runlevel). Application areas: during interactions with real patients and / or video recorded interactions.

Conclusions:
The incorporation of clearly specified evaluation criteria involves a benefit for the teacher and the student, who know what will be evaluated and therefore what to learn and what to teach. We have achieved a significant improvement in the objectivity of the evaluation, facilitating a more structured evaluation.