Postgraduate Maxillofacial Training from Students’ Perspective
As a specialty, maxillofacial surgery is considered as the meeting point between dentistry and medicine. It is, compared to other medical and surgical field, a relatively new specialty, which has been embraced by ambitious and talented dentists and encouraged by general surgeons. Maxillofacial surgery specialty lies within the cross road between medicine and dentistry. It has been considered as a young medical branch supported by general surgeons and endorsed by inspired and talented dentists. In the premise of student-centred research, OMFS training program, as the authors believe, could provide rich area for exploration. It helps to engage students in their surgical training process and gives medical academics more information about this learning experience, as perceived by students. This in turn will influence this important qualification programme.
A qualitative focus group study included nine Iraqi (OMFS) fellowship students whom were purposively selected to ensure maximum variation sample and breadth of training experience. Two students were 3rd year trainees, 3 trainees from the 4th year and 4 students from the 5th year. Seven participants were males and 2 were females. The interview was conducted in the Gazi Alhariri Hospital for Surgical Specializations, Baghdad. The interview was moderated by the first author. The focus group discussion lasted for one hour and 47 minutes with an intervening session in the symposium room. Data has been recorded digitally and transcribed verbatim by the first author. Generic qualitative approach was the adopted methodology. Data was coded line by line and organized using Framework approach. Constant Comparative Method was sketchily employed to uncover and comprehend the underlying patterns. This pattern has been illustrated by the Stud Theoretical Construct. This construct was tested several times as the researcher team revisited the data.
Students do not seem to view the experience of maxillofacial surgery training as an intimidating challenge, rather than a rewarding challenged. Data analysis revealed themes that incorporate in the body of the experience of the students. These themes are; an interested to the field; professional challenge; new professional expertise; the influence of the mentor/ supervisor; accomplished sense of prospect professional achievement; impediments; isolated voices; and sense of disappointment. Maxillofacial surgical training seems to bring positive attitude to the trainees, as it brings a sense of achievement on both personal and career levels, due to the range of gained knowledge and expertise. This needs to be complemented with training facilities and further refined systematic training approach, which considers different centres and mentors.