First Faculty of Medicine, Charles University in Prague Charles University in Prague

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Questions & answers from our video to dentistry instruction

Dentistry instruction

Chaired by the Dean, Professor Aleksi Šedo, answers by Vice Dean for dental medicine, Professor Foltán

Q: Is the summer term going to be extended, prolonged?

A: I cannot say, I do not know. We are part of the Charles University and subject to their directives and stipulations. If the Charles University decides it will be extended, then it will, if they say it will not, then it won’t. We are prepared for the option of extending the semester for both non-clinical and clinical subjects but it is not in our power to decide about it. (Dean Šedo adds that the faculty is fully prepared to carry out examinations throughout the summer, but ultimately, it is a thing that will be decided by higher authorities of the Charles University).

Q: Is volunteering going to be recognised as summer nursing practice for second year dentistry students?

A: Second year students who are currently volunteering in hospitals or social care institutions (retirement homes, etc.) will have this activity recognised as their summer nursing practice mandatory after the second year.

Q: In what way will the practical training and summer practice be replaced or compensated for?

A: We are fully aware of the difficult situation and one cannot assume that practical dentists would accept medics for traineeships because they will have their hands full with practical problems of their own. In view of this, we are prepared to postpone the mandatory practice and allow it to be done in higher years or a time when it will be possible. That’s as far as the practice after the third year is concerned. With respect to practical training: it is part of study obligations and the rules of study still apply and unless there is a change to the rules of study, practical training must be fulfilled in some form. We are prepared to extend the academic year both in the sense of stretching it into the summer months and in the sense of using afternoon hours for teaching. This will depend on the situation but at this moment, I just do not know how things will develop. Again, however, I reiterate that this is something that can be affected by decisions taken by the Ministry, Charles University Rectorate, hospitals. There is a lot of unknowns and we just do not know.

Q: Is there a possibility that students may be granted an exemption from some procedures included in the logbook?

A: We believe that what is in the logbook is really the bare minimum of procedures a dentist must be able to carry out, because in dentistry, the situation is somewhat different than in general medicine. A dentist can, after the final state exam, open a private practice and never again pass another examination, no one checks his or her work! A dentist must be fully competent to perform independent work. This is why we believe that the minimum that is in the logbook must be met and I can just reiterate that we are willing to extend teaching into afternoons to enable students catch up on things they missed due to the current situation. (Dean Šedo adds: I should add that the faculty is fully aware and appreciates the intensification of work we see on the part of our dentistry teachers. They are the guardians, protectors of a craft. The fact they insist on meeting the requirements of the logbook, that is their contribution to future professional quality of our current students. Insistence on softening of some of logbook demands would exemplify a wrong attitude to one’s own profession.)

Q: Will personal protective equipment be available for practical instruction?

A: Here is a large degree of uncertainty. We do not know what kinds of PPE will be needed because the situation is evolving and there is no general guidance on hygiene and personal protection with respect to this issue. At the moment general guidelines are issued, we will meet its requirements so as to protect our students, teachers, and especially our patients, because Covid transmission can, naturally, go both from patient to doctor and from doctor to patient. It is quite clear that this will require some financial investment but their extent, the extent to which this will be covered by the school or hospitals, that is not clear. At this point, there is a shortage of PPE even for doctors who take care of patients. In short, it is still unknown how it’s going to be once teaching restarts.

Q: Must students of the fifth year of dentistry complete the three days of practical instruction they lost then universities were closed?

A: There are three groups of students. The first group are those who met the requirements of the logbook: they do not need to finish the last three days. The second group are those who haven’t yet met the requirements of the logbook: they must participate, they must have a chance to finish their logbook requirements. The third group is one of the study teams who have a week-long stay at the orthodontic department and only two days from that stay had taken place. They will have to finish the last three days at the orthodontic department because otherwise, they would not meet the demands of the subject (course).

Q: Will state exams take place once the state of emergency is lifted or will the school await a full opening of universities?

A: Regarding the state exams, I’d like to refer to what Dean had said: we are as a faculty subjected to the jurisdiction of the Rectorate. As soon as the Rectorate permits it, we are ready to administer the state examinations. I would also like to remark that it was thanks to our initiative that the period of time between announcing the dates for state exams and their actual implementation was shortened from three months to just one month. We are trying to be flexible. I’d like to add that we speak of our times in terms of ‘information revolution’, which means that information can be almost instantly available to everyone who needs them. We have no more information than you do. This is why I encourage you all to follow the website of the faculty, website of the university. We have no further, special information sources other than public ones and this is a public issue. So I would like to ask students to be active and follow available information in an active fashion.

You can find video here (only Czech version).

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