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Online First
Self-reported stressors and experiences of Maltese dental academics during the COVID-19 pandemic

Authors: Anne-Marie Agius, Ethel Vento Zahra, Gabriella Gatt, Arthur R. G. Cortes, Nikolai Attard

Corresponding: Anne-marie Agius (anne-marie.agius@um.edu.mt)

Keywords: AcademicsDentistry, Oral Health, COVID-19, Stress

Doi: 10.7423/XJENZA.2022.1.02

Abstract:
Aim: to compare self-reported outcomes among dental faculty members during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Materials and methods: An anonymous questionnaire consisting of 13 closed and open-ended questions was sent to all faculty members (n=41) at the Faculty of Dental Surgery at the university of this study. Categorical (likert-scale) and qualitative questions on self-reported outcomes were identified and tallied. Non-parametric tests were used to correlate and compare variables among the different gender, departments and roles of the academics (i.e. full-time, part-time, visiting and demonstrators).
Results: Thirty-two (32) out of fourty-one (41) academics completed the online questionnaire. A satisfactory adaptation to online lecturing was noted from the majority of the participants. On the other hand, full-time faculty members were significantly more anxious about contracting COVID-19, than part-time and visiting faculty members (p=0.020). Most participants were concerned about the lack of practical training opportunities for students. There were no significant differences between gender categories for any of the variables explored in this study (p>0.05).
Conclusion: Academics accepted online platforms for lecturing and examinations as viable alternatives to traditional methods for theoretical learning but they were highly concerned about the possibility of students losing their practical skills during the lockdown and that online tutoring cannot compensate for lost hands-on time in preparation for their upcoming practical examinations. They, however, recognized the benefits of blended modes of tuition in the future.