Journal of Indian Association of Public Health Dentistry

: 2017  |  Volume : 15  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 265-

Dental students' reflection on patient's trust in clinician

Meena Jain1, Ankur Sharma1, Aman Thapliyal1, Vishal Jain2,  
1 Department of Public Health Dentistry, Manav Rachna Dental College, Faridabad, Haryana, India
2 Vitaldent Advanced Dental Clinic, Faridabad, Haryana, India

Correspondence Address:
Meena Jain
205, Bharti Apartments, Sector 21-C, Faridabad, Haryana

How to cite this article:
Jain M, Sharma A, Thapliyal A, Jain V. Dental students' reflection on patient's trust in clinician.J Indian Assoc Public Health Dent 2017;15:265-265

How to cite this URL:
Jain M, Sharma A, Thapliyal A, Jain V. Dental students' reflection on patient's trust in clinician. J Indian Assoc Public Health Dent [serial online] 2017 [cited 2022 Dec 1 ];15:265-265
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We read with interest, the article titled Assessment of Empathy among Clinical Dental Students in a Teaching Dental Institution in Telangana State, India;[1] published in the Journal of Indian Association of Public Health Dentistry. The article underlined an important issue of empathy in clinician-patient relationship for dental students. In addition, students' perspective on determinants of patients' trust in them is another crucial dimension in clinician-patient relationship. Trainable factors such as communication and patient's perceived self-efficacy contribute to trust.[2]

We conducted an exploratory study to understand students' perceptions on determinants of patient-clinician trust among 28 clinical undergraduate interns and postgraduate students in a dental college in National Capital Region of India. The study involved reflective writing on topics regarding trust in health care among the clinical undergraduate interns and postgraduate students. Two data rich writings were taken and coded independently by the three researchers. Thematic analysis of all the writings was performed using Atlas. Ti software version 7 by Scientific Software Development Gmbh, Berlin, Germany.

The analysis showed four distinct themes on which trust of the patient on clinician was dependent. These were clinician's positive behavior, communication skills, treatment competence, and ethical conduct. These topics matched with patient's perceptions in previous studies.[3],[4] However, despite their ability to understand the factors that lead to the development of trust, the students were not able to practice it. They felt that improper behavior, communication, financial prioritization, time constraints, and competence of the clinician were the primary causes of lack of trust in the patients. Importantly, some of the participants were of the view that training on trust may help them in practicing trust-building skills better. A few students felt some patients were not able to develop trust on the clinician as they think that the clinician is overcharging, and exploiting their vulnerability due to the priority of finances rather than patient welfare.

Most of the participants showed an apparent favouritism toward young patients, with whom they can build better rapport; and toward the financially weaker patient, as they are more compliant. Such favouritism may lead inequitable treatment in a diverse health-care population and should be a matter of concern. Training in ethical practice, as well as behavioral and communication skills toward the development of trust, may help in managing this issue. Although the participants considered behavior and communication necessary, still it was found that many participants were not able to apply these skills effectively in adverse situations. Overall, we were able to highlight the ability of student clinicians to partially understand the factors that lead to the development of a patient's trust.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.


1Kalyan SV, Manjula S, Padma TM, Pratap KV, Vineela P, Varma SC. Assessment of empathy among clinical dental students in a teaching dental institution in Telangana State, India. J Indian Assoc Public Health Dent 2017;15:162-5.
2Gillie G. Perceived control over health, communication and patient-physician trust. Patient Educ Couns 2015;98:1550-7.
3Gopichandran V, Chetlapalli SK. Dimensions and determinants of trust in health care in resource poor settings – a qualitative exploration. PLoS One 2013;8:e69170.
4Gopichandran V, Chetlapalli SK. Trust in the physician-patient relationship in developing healthcare settings: A quantitative exploration. Indian J Med Ethics 2015;12:141-8.