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New dental graduates transition into UK professional practice; a longitudinal study of changes in perceptions and behaviours through the lens of evidence-based dentistry

Al-Yaseen, Waraf, Nanjappa, Sucharita, Jindal-Snape, Divya and Innes, Nicola ORCID: 2024. New dental graduates transition into UK professional practice; a longitudinal study of changes in perceptions and behaviours through the lens of evidence-based dentistry. BMC Medical Education 24 (1) , 195. 10.1186/s12909-024-05182-y

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Background: This longitudinal study using qualitative methodology aims to investigate the perceptions, and implementation, of evidence-based guidelines into practice among new dental graduates (NDGs) during their transition from university into professional practice, by identifying factors that influence the adoption of evidence-based practice (EBP) in dental practice. Methods: The study invited NDGs from one UK dental school (N = 66) and employed longitudinal, multiple qualitative methodologies for data collection, throughout the participants’ Vocational Dental Training (VDT) year. Initial interviews (Interview 1) conducted upon graduation and follow-up interviews (Interview 2) carried out between six and nine months into professional practice were combined with participants longitudinal audio diaries (LADs) recorded between the interviews. The study. Results: A total of 12 NDGs agreed to participate. For Interview 1, twelve participants were interviewed, seven of whom agreed to participate in Interview 2 and six recorded the LADs. Interview 1 exposed diverse views among NDGs about EBP, acknowledging its significance but facing obstacles in implementation due to time and financial constraints. They intended to use evidence selectively, often aligning with trainers’ or NHS treatment options, while hesitating to fully embrace EBP in a busy dental practice. During VDT, LAD entries showed initial enthusiasm for EBP, but integrating evidence-based guidelines within the NHS system led to pragmatic treatment decisions, balancing gold-standard and cost-effective options. Over time, NDGs became more comfortable with alternative treatments, considering patients’ financial constraints, yet they expressed frustration with external pressures limiting their clinical decision-making autonomy. In Interview 2, after six to nine months in practice, NDGs exhibited mixed attitudes towards EBP. Some actively used dental guidelines like SDCEP, others associated EBP with hi-tech or expensive materials, while others would thought to rely on colleagues’ recommendations. None consistently sought direct evidence for treatment decisions. Conclusion: NDGs’ attitudes towards EBP changed and became more negative over their first year in professional practice, leading to challenges in their applying it. It questions the assumption that teaching EBP during undergraduate education ensures its implementation. Further understanding the influences on the development of attitudinal challenges will help to devise effective strategies for fostering lifelong learning and supporting evidence-based practice in dentistry.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Dentistry
Additional Information: License information from Publisher: LICENSE 1: URL:, Type: open-access
Publisher: BioMed Central
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 27 February 2024
Date of Acceptance: 15 February 2024
Last Modified: 27 Feb 2024 10:15

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