Empowerment in a model of outreach undergraduate dental education

David Radford, P. Hellyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Aim - To undertake a quantitative and qualitative examination into what aspects of the students’ experience in outreach at University of Portsmouth Dental Academy (UPDA) are encouraging their empowerment as autonomous practitioners, ready to graduate as safe beginners.

Methods - The study was devised as part of the educational service evaluation of outreach education at the UPDA. For the two most recent cohorts of 160 students (2014-16) an additional domain was added specifically investigating the students’ sense of how their experience of outreach at the UPDA has impacted on their development to be ready for independent practice (safe beginner). The questionnaire was completed anonymously in their last week of attendance just prior to graduation.

Results - A 91% response rate for the questionnaire was achieved. To the question about ‘being given an opportunity to become an independent dentist’, 83% of the respondents strongly agreed. Two themes with 7 subthemes were identified from the free text responses. The two themes were ‘Self-actualisation: developing self-awareness and self-confidence’ and ‘Delivery of care as a dentist’. 

Conclusion - Within the limitations of this educational evaluation, students enjoyed the increase of autonomy they gained during the year-long placement and felt that the clinical teachers empowered, encouraged and supported them to develop as autonomous dental practitioners and as ‘safe beginners’, to deliver holistic care in the National Health Service.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-46
Number of pages6
JournalBritish Dental Journal
Early online date13 Jan 2017
Publication statusEarly online - 13 Jan 2017


  • dental education
  • empowerment
  • outreach
  • boundary crossing undergraduate


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