1 Prevention of Oral and Dental Disease Research Center, School of Dentistry, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran;

2 Quality Improvement in Clinical Education Research Center, Education Development Center, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran

3 Student Research Committee, School of Dentistry, School of Dentistry, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran


Introduction: Establishment of effective communicationbetween the clinician and patient is essential in order to increasethe effectiveness of treatment. These skills have been lessinvestigated among dental students. This study aimed to evaluatecommunication skills of dental students in Shiraz with patientsthrough direct observation, patients’ perspectives and students’self-assessments.Methods: This cross-sectional study enrolled the fifth and sixthyear dental students and one of each student’s patients whowas chosen using simple random sampling method. We used achecklist for data collection. Students’ communication skills wereassessed at three steps of the student-patient interview – at thebeginning of the interview, during the interview, and at the endof the interview. The checklist was completed by three groups: 1)an observer, 2) the patient and 3) the student, as self-assessment.The validity of the checklist was confirmed by clinical professorsand the reliability was determined by Cronbach’s alpha test. Datawere analyzed using descriptive statistics and Student’s t test.A repeated measure MANOVA was used to compare the meancommunication skills in the researcher, patients, and students ateach step of the patient interviews.Results: There were 110 students (mean age: 22.3±8.4 years)and 110 patients (mean age: 32±8.8 years) who completed thechecklists. Overall, the communication skills of dental studentswere rated as good according to the patients. However, the observerand student participants rated the skills at the moderate level. Weobserved significant differences between communication skills inall three groups and in the three steps of the patient interviews(p<0.001). According to patients’ beliefs and students’ selfassessments, there were no differences between male and femalestudents in communication skills in the three steps of the patientinterviews (all p>0.05). However from the observer’s viewpoint,female students showed better communication skills during theinterviews (p=0.001).Conclusion: There was a degree of failure in communication skillsof dental students with patients in the interview process. It will benecessary that communication skills be taught, particularly forstudents involved in clinical practice.Keywords: Communication skill; Relationship; Dental student