Main Article Content
Clinical records are the basis for clinical reasoning, diagnostics, treatment planning, and management as well as for management of the patient and the outcome of the treatment, and therefore an important aspect of health professionals’ work. Several articles emphasize the importance of adequate and correct content in these records. Previous research shows that even health professionals need to improve the content and structure of their clinical records, for them to give the information needed for various needs. The focus of this article are the clinical records of undergraduate dental students. The aim of the study was to explore patterns of adequate and inadequate content in clinical notes of undergraduate dental students in their final year of education. Secondly, whether these results could provide insights for development of health professions education.
Data comprised of 33 cased-based examinations collected during January 2020 at the University Dental Clinic, Department of Dental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, in Huddinge Sweden. Also, data included teachers’ assessment of these examinations. The texts were analyzed with thematic analysis.
Analytical results showed three themes. The first theme, (i) Professional content knowledge, concerned information in patient history, status, diagnostics and treatment plan, and an information ambiguity. The theme also included the students' use of professional terminology and the choice of articles to support reflections. The second theme (ii) incomplete method of investigation involved the actual patient interview, but also students’ various misunderstandings of the template. The third theme was (iii) Academic formalities. This theme concerned students' understanding of the purpose of referencing and its function, but also a non-use of references, the use of irrelevant references, errors in the given citation style, and an incorrect structure of the text according to the template.
In conclusion, results showed the need for continuous training in clinical note-taking and reflections during dental students' professional education. In this training, teachers’ assessment is important for students' development of professional literacy and professional judgment. Also, a continuous reminder of science and proven experience as the basis for the profession which is also made visible through academic formalities.
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