The purpose of this study was to determine whether the undergraduate dental curriculum of the University of Lagos Dental School, adequately prepares the dental graduate with the behavioral science and business/management (practice management) skills required for private dental practice. A review of the current undergraduate dental curriculum of the University of Lagos Dental School was carried out to determine if there were any behavioral science and business/management course(s) designed to provide these skills. The curriculum was also reviewed to determine if there was any provision for clinical exposure to private dental clinics, for the dental students, prior to graduation. A review of the curriculum showed that there were behavioral science courses in medical sociology, medical psychology, clinical psychology and communication and interpersonal skills. However, there were no courses in the business/management skills required for private dental practice. There was also no provision for clinical exposure/attachments to private dental clinics. In comparison, the curriculum for penultimate year medical students in the same institution included a two-week clinical attachment/posting to private hospitals and medical facilities. The findings from this study show that the undergraduate dental curriculum of the University of Lagos Dental School adequately prepares the dental graduate with the behavioral science skills required for private dental practice. However, the curriculum is currently deficient in the business and management skills and knowledge required by dentists for private dental practice. Thus, there is an urgent need for the inclusion of practice management in the undergraduate dental curriculum of the University of Lagos and all other dental schools in the country.
Key words: Practice management, undergraduate dental curriculum, private dental practice.
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