Typologies of Strategies used by the University of the Philippines College of Dentistry Clinicians in Teaching Patients in Periodontics

Bhabita V. Murjani

College of Dentistry, University of the Philippines Manila

Although patient education is performed regularly, the impact of how it is done is usually taken for granted. Observing dental students as they educated their patients may provide a glimpse of how dentists educate their patients in actual practice.

Objective. The main objective of this study is to describe the various teaching strategies used by graduating dental clinicians in educating patients.

Methods. This study documents 47 patient encounters in the Oral Medicine Section of the University of the Philippines College of Dentistry (UPCD). The Grounded Theory Qualitative Design was used. Naturalistic observation was employed, maximum purposive sampling was done, and data was continuously collected until saturation point was reached. Documentation was performed through field notes, video recording of encounters, and patient interview. Potential categories were tried out and created until a fit between data and theory was achieved. Constant
comparison of recurring patterns in the manner of teaching about plaque and its prevention, particularly in three elements in the learning process as described by Gagne, namely, motivation, stimulation, and patient involvement, were observed and grouped to form generalizations. Typologies were then developed.

Results. Four types of teaching strategies emerged from the study: the prescriptive, the elaborative, the responsive, and the evaluative. Though combinations of strategies were employed in each teaching element, the prespriptive approach emerged as the most dominant.

Conclusion. The majority of UPCD clinicians appear to be concrete explainers who only provide information and factual knowledge to patients, thereby restricting their patients' level of learning to mere recall.

Key Words: patient education strategies, grounded theory, typologies