Using storytelling in undergraduate dental education: Students' experiences of emotional competence training
Materials and Methods: Students participated in five sessions related to emotional competence: one theoretical and four practical. During the latter, divided in small groups, students told individually two stories: a story about a clinical situation in which they had an emotional experience and a story concerning a patient's experience of the same emotion. Each session focused on a single emotion: happiness, fear, anger and shame. A questionnaire was used to collect perceptions about enjoyment, how stories were chosen, what was learned and if the sessions were stimulating in any way. A focus group was organised to collect reflections about the learning environment, process of learning and specific skill set developed during these sessions.
Results: The majority of the students enjoyed listening, telling and preparing the stories. They reported to experience social support and feeling a sense of community during the sessions. The students believed that stories helped them to reflect on their clinical work and to regulate their emotional experiences more efficiently in clinical situations. Regarding the learning environment, the dental students pointed out the distinctiveness and dissimilarities between the dental and dental hygiene students, but also expressed that they had a desire to learn more about the other student group.
Conclusion: Storytelling used as part of an emotional competence course appears to have benefits for students' reflection about their role as dental health professionals. This teaching method was well-perceived by the students included in this study.