World Journal of Dentistry

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VOLUME 8 , ISSUE 3 ( May-June, 2017 ) > List of Articles


Soft Skills of Dental Students’ Competence: What is Important for Patients and How do Students Fare?

AM Mohamed

Citation Information : Mohamed A. Soft Skills of Dental Students’ Competence: What is Important for Patients and How do Students Fare?. World J Dent 2017; 8 (3):157-163.

DOI: 10.5005/jp-journals-10015-1431

Published Online: 01-06-2017

Copyright Statement:  Copyright © 2017; The Author(s).



This study aims to evaluate the impact of soft skills’ formal assessment on the students’ interpersonal competency as evaluated by their own patients.

Materials and methods

A validated eight-item questionnaire with a 5-point Likert rating scale addressing relevant soft skills and rated by patients was used for two different cohorts of final year dental undergraduate students at the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The first cohort (class of 2009) did not receive a formal daily assessment during their clinical work, while the second batch (class of 2011) did. The daily assessment was used as a formative evaluation and included aspects of professionalism, patient empathy and education, organization of work area, and time management.


For all the eight items in the questionnaire, more than 97% (total = 340) of the patients responded positively for both batches (2009 and 2011) of dental students. As for the scores related to specific items, there was improvement in the proportions of patients who were satisfied with all the items for the batch of students who had the formal assessment for their clinical work. These improvements, however, did not demonstrate any statistical significance (p > 0.05).


Patients were equally satisfied with the soft skills among two groups of final year dental students during clinical encounters. The formal assessment of soft skills did not have any impact on the measured outcomes.

Clinical significance

Soft skills are a learning experience for every dental student, which is useful in personal and professional life. An increase in health service and competitive dental practices emphasizes the need for soft skills to understand the dynamics of workplace and use of soft skills.

How to cite this article

Mohamed AM, Abdullah D, Dom TNM. Soft Skills of Dental Students’ Competence: What is Important for Patients and How do Students Fare? World J Dent 2017;8(3):157-163.

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