Virtual Patient -a paradigm shift in the dental education at Gulf Medical University
Gulf Medical University – Ajman, one of the leading medical universities in the Middle East with students from over 86 countries, applied the virtual patient technique in the Faculty of Community Medicine at the College of Dentistry at Gulf Medical University. It is the first of its kind application at a dental college in the United Arab Emirates.
According to Prof. Hossam Hamdy, the Chancellor of GMU, “the use of virtual patients in dental education is the first step towards providing an effective alternate method for live patient interactions for training dental students”.
Dr. Hesham Marei, Dean of Gulf Medical University’s College of Dentistry, further added “that the virtual patient is one of the modern methods in medical education, based on simulation using a computer. It is a standardized computer software that allows simulation of real clinical scenarios that encompass the most frequent clinical cases to critical situations. The use of virtual patients can prove as an excellent method for learning and honing patient interaction. Besides, the students are exposed to all the essential procedures – from radiation, analysis, and medical information that enables them to arrive at correct diagnosis and develop an ideal treatment plan in addition to testing the results of their medical decisions”.
The most significant advantage of the teaching program at the Faculty of Dentistry is the exposure it provides to students about the various medical conditions right from the first year of college, which marks a qualitative shift in the way of thinking and making appropriate decisions for each medical problem that is exposed.
The dental program is one of the many programs offered by the College of Dentistry in addition to Master of Dental Surgery in Endodontics (MDS), Master of Dental Surgery in Periodontics (MDS) and Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD). The students at all levels of dentistry get their clinical training at Thumbay University Hospitals that are internationally accredited by the Joint Commission International (JCI).