Certainty in Uncertain Times: Dental Education during the COVID-19 Pandemic-A Qualitative Study

Katja Goetz, Hans-Jürgen Wenz, Katrin Hertrampf


BACKGROUND: The restrictions concerning social contact due to the COVID-19 pandemic implied a rethinking of teaching methods at universities in general, and for practice-oriented teaching such as dental education in particular. This qualitative study aimed to assess aspects of feelings of certainty and uncertainty during this specific education process, incorporating the perspectives of teaching staff and dental students.

METHODS: Qualitative methods based on interviews were used for data collection. Dental students from different academic years (second, third, fourth, and fifth) and teaching staff responsible for the content and implementation of courses within the dental curriculum were recruited. The data analysis was performed by qualitative content analysis.

RESULTS: A total of 39 dental students and 19 teaching staff participated. When students and staff dealt positively with this specific situation, certainty was achieved. The availability of presentations and clear communication enhanced feelings of certainty. The participants often felt unsure about how to handle such a challenging situation and felt insecure when planning for the semester. The students missed contact with other students and argued that the information policy on their dental studies was not transparent enough. In addition, dental students and teaching staff were nervous about the risk of infection from COVID-19, especially in practical courses with patient contact.

CONCLUSIONS: The COVID-19 pandemic situation leads to a rethinking of dental education. Feelings of certainty can be strengthened by clear and transparent communication as well as training in online teaching methods. To reduce uncertainty, it is crucial to establish channels for information exchange and feedback.

ZeitschriftInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 10.02.2023


  • Forschung zu SARS-CoV-2 / COVID-19


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