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Date of Award



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Document Type

Thesis: EWU Only

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS) in Dental Hygiene


Dental Hygiene

First Advisor

Ann O'Kelley Wetmore

Second Advisor

Rebecca Stolberg

Third Advisor

Pamela Nagasawa


The American Dental Education Association (ADEA) and the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) recognize a need for health care professionals to demonstrate proficiency in interpersonal communication. This pilot study investigated the implementation of a communication skills module for dental students in their second year of training (N=45) to enhance their communication and interpersonal skills. I utilized a skills-based approach with realistic clinical scenarios, and videotaped role-playing in which peers as “patients” providing feedback to the “dentist.” Data analysis of Likert-type pre, post, and one-year post assessment scores, Likert-type peer “patient” assessment scores, and role-playing/instructor rubric scores, based on the Kalamazoo checklist, were used to determine that a communication module with role-playing and videography is an effective method for teaching communication skills and improving students’ perception of their own communication skills. Rubric scores as well as peer assessment scores were correlated, suggesting their use for proving competency and as potential outcomes measurement tools. In addition, students found that portraying the “patient” during role-playing was effective in gaining the patient’s perspective. This pilot study used a one-session communications module; however, a more thorough training module incorporated into all 4 years of dental school is recommended.


Typescript. Vita.