UBC Faculty Research and Publications

The role of an educational vignette to teach dental students on issues of substance use and mental health disorders in patients at the University of British Columbia: an exploratory qualitative study Brondani, Mario; Alan, Rana; Donnelly, Leeann


Background Inverted classroom approaches and the use of vignettes have been suggested in health care education. The objective of this study was to use an educational vignette to discuss issues of stigma around substance use and mental disorders within undergraduate Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry (DMD) and Bachelor of Dental Science in Dental Hygiene (BDSc-DH) students at the University of British Columbia, Canada. Our research question was “how can an educational vignette, depicting a fictitious patient with a history of substance use and mental health disorders accessing dental care, promote an open dialogue about stigma?” Methods An educational vignette was developed based on individuals’ lived-experiences with a variety of substance use and/or mental health disorders. This vignette was used to generate in-class discussion involving all the DMD and BDSc-DH undergraduate students enrolled between 2015/16 and 2018/19 who attended a mandatory 2.5 h didactic session using an inverted classroom approach. Students were also encouraged to provide a post-class voluntary written reflection, between 200 and 300 words, around stigma. The authors took written field notes on students’ response to the vignette and used excerpts from students’ de-identified reflections to illustrate the impact of such an educational tool. Results A total of 323 DMD and BDSc-DH students attended the didactic sessions between 2015/16 and 2018/19, and 148 reflections were submitted over the same time period. The inverted classroom approached showed to be engaging and collaborative. The vignette promoted open dialogue and was determined to be a conducive tool to generate in-class discussion and reflection. Major themes from the textual data included ‘exploring power relations’ and ‘patient-centered care approach to counteract stigma’. The vignette also enabled the discussion of positive experiences characterized by empathy, reassurance and communication, although it might not have prompted all students to participate in class or in writing the reflections. Conclusion The inverted classroom approach and the vignette seemed to be an effective way to facilitate dialogue and reflection for most students. This study highlighted the need to explore innovative ways in which to continuously prepare current and future oral health care providers to professionally address the needs of patients with a history of substance use and/or mental health disorders.

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Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)