Professional motivations and perceptions of senior dental students in the distance education period during the first year of the Covid-19 pandemicCansu Özsin Özler, Cansu Atalay, Ece Meral, Meryem Uzamış Tekçiçek, Bahar Güçiz Doğan, Esra Ergin
Purpose Dental students are particularly prone to be affected by the global emergency of Coronavirus-19 (Covid-19) pandemic. The aim of this study was to evaluate the professional motivations and perceptions of senior dental students during the distance education period due to pandemic. Materials and Methods The data was collected via an online questionnaire, including questions related to students’ professional motivation and perceptions, and views about preventive dentistry. For identifying the distress levels, Turkish version of Depression Anxiety Stress Scale (DASS)-21 was used. Descriptive statistics and marginal homogeneity test were used for statistical analysis. Results A total of 114 (83 female, 31 male) students, with the mean age of 23.7±1.03 participated the study. Statistically significant changes were observed on the students’ career plans (p<0.001); fear about getting and transmitting infectious diseases (p<0.001); and satisfaction about their profession (p<0.001) during the Covid-19 pandemic. Motivation loss was determined on the participants. Conclusion There is an urgent need for revision on dental education in order to ensure the students be competent to provide oral health service that can meet the latest needs and achieve professional self-confidence without deterioration on their professional motivation and perceptions. Crisis-oriented psychological support programs should be provided for students. Some improvements should be structured in terms of preventive dentistry issues, both for dental education and dental health service aspects.