International dentist degree students’ educational experiences, perceptions, and adaptation to the International Dentist Degree Program at the University of Manitoba
Boorberg, Noriko Brigitte
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Canadian universities are challenged by the lack of graduating enough dentists to meet the future needs of the Canadian population. Foreign-trained dentists (FTD) represent a valuable resource to society and the economy. Dental programs have trained FTD for various reasons: public need for healthcare services, income generation for universities, and demand by FTD who desire to practice dentistry in Canada. Changes implemented by the National Dental Examining Board (NDEB) of Canada in 2000 have resulted in FTD no longer being able to gain Canadian dental licensure through a certification examination. FTD are now required to complete a two-year advanced placement qualifying or degree program at a Canadian dental school prior to receiving licensure. In 2003, the University of Manitoba launched a two-year International Dentist Degree Program (IDDP). In Part I of the study, 19 transcribed interviews of IDDP graduates between 2004-2008 were analyzed manually. Five qualitative themes emerged from the dataset. The themes are identified as: (1) isolation and physical relocation issues (i.e., from friends, family and their culture), (2) personal and professional demands of the program (i.e., maintaining home life with spouse and /or children as well as the professional demands of a dental student), (3) emotional stress associated with the program, (i.e., personal struggles and financial stresses), (4) re-learning a system (i.e., both cultural and professional), and (5) overall program satisfaction. In Part II of the study, the mean differences between the outcome variables (Clinical Grades, Didactic Grades, Final Grade Point Average, and NDEB Written and OSCE scores) were statistically analyzed between the 37 IDDP graduates and 246 regular-stream dental graduates from 2003-2011. Based on analysis of the data, the IDDP graduates performed better than the regular-stream dental graduates in all the variables. The mean scores in each of the outcome variables were higher than the regular-stream group, the only variable that was found to be statistically significant was observed in the NDEB Written scores (p>0.05).