Dental Students’ Experiences during the COVID‐19 Pandemic — A Cross‐Sectional Study from Norway
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (IJERPH). 2022, 19(5), 3102 https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19053102
The purpose of this cross-sectional study was to map dental students’ experience of the study situation throughout the pandemic. All clinical dental students (year 3 to 5) at the Faculty of Medicine, Department of Clinical Dentistry (IKO), University of Bergen (UiB), Norway, were invited. Participation was anonymous and voluntary, and the response rate was 63%. Questions regarding stress-related factors were divided into three categories. In the category «Stressors/learning», a statistically significant difference was observed between both the genders (p = 0.001) and years of study (p = 0.028). Statistically significant differences between the genders were also observed in the category «Stressors/infection» (p = 0.008). Women were significantly more stressed due to lack of clinical skills (p = 0.048), not receiving as good theoretical teaching as before the pandemic (p = 0.016), and uncertain issues around the exams (p = 0.000). Fourth year students were significantly more stressed due to lack of clinical skills (p = 0.012), for not passing the clinic/skills courses due to lack of study progression (p = 0.005), and worries about not being a good enough dentist after graduation (p = 0.002). In conclusion, the pandemic had a major impact on dental students. The most prominent stressors in relation to the study situation were experienced by students from the fourth year and female students. Clinical and theoretical learning outcomes among students were regarded as worse than before the pandemic. The students preferred in presence lectures, but experienced digital asynchronous video lectures as a good alternative. The pandemic negatively affected the students’ social life. Dental schools should be aware that students have been exposed to increased distress and burden through the pandemic and should provide support for those in need.