Student evaluation of a problem-oriented module of clinical medicine within a revised dental curriculum

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As part of a revised dental curriculum, a 3rd year module on medical subjects was developed based on a mixture of self-study and problem-oriented approach using cases. Pairs of students had to select a specific medical problem and solve a paper patient case using a problem-solving cycle. Results were presented in working groups and by writing an essay. The quality of the presentations was assessed by colleague students and by the teacher supervisor; the expert teacher in the field graded the essay. The results contributed for 40% to the overall grade of the module. A questionnaire filled out by 94% of the participating students showed that 85% of the students agreed in preferring this way of handling medical problems as compared with conventional, lecture-based education. Almost all of them enjoyed the provided opportunity to give a case presentation. The problem-oriented model was assessed as useful by 73% of the students. Knowledge concerning the topic chosen turned out to be higher than knowledge of other topics. Although this study cannot prove that this mode of education actually results in a better ability to cope with medical problems, it may contribute in several ways to the final competences in the area of general medicine in the undergraduate dental curriculum.

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