Talking Phantom Heads - A Role in Dental Education by Faiza Syeda
Talking Phantom Heads – A Role in Dental Education Faiza Syeda, King’s College London, Centre of Biomedicine and SocietyAbstract & Introduction: Phantom Heads ANT concentrates on how the introduction of technologies is dependent onDespite the advancement in new There are major limitations to the realism due to physical differences: no society’s development and needs which explains why phantom heads are soinformation technologies, contemporary pain/feelings, no complaints, no movement/twitches, no tongue, saliva, soft life-like2.simulation models, such as phantom tissues or lips. Extracted teeth used were sometimes red, green or black; these Due to networks being intrinsically unstable and variable they may often becomeheads, are still the method of choice colours were difficult to match aesthetically with plastic teeth used. unsuccessful and be replaced by other networks3. An indication that this processfor pre-clinical training of dental may already be happening is the students’ awareness of two new technologiesstudents in the UK. Phantom heads are Removable Jaw being produced in competition to their phantom heads; hapTEL and humanoidsophisticated, life-like manikins which robots being developed in Japan. Some students were taking the jaws of their phantom heads out of the mainallow the rehearsal of dental procedures. structure and were witnessed to be fixing or working on their jaws this way,With these models, students can practice which is prohibited in the class.techniques at an early stage of their train- Conclusion:ing without putting patient safety at risk. Though students believed that manikins were sufficient models for representing real patients, there were some characteristics of the phantom heads that wereThe overall aim of this project was to not life-like.determine how students interact with It was discovered that the removable jaws actually helped students identifyphantom heads, in what ways these areas of the patient’s mouth that would require more attention than previouslyphantom heads are used in the dental expected.education of students and how thesemodels represent working with reallife patients. The relaxed setting without a rigid schedule was conducive to learning. Having longer periods to practice on patients allowed students to spend time onThe theoretical framework of Actor-Network Theory was used to explain the role developing and practice essential skills and techniques.of phantom heads in the teaching process. Amongst other things, Actor-Network Students are able to work at ease with their phantom heads without causingTheory looks at how inanimate objects are not only acted upon but contribute toa goal; in essence capturing how phantom heads are utilized by students, as discomfort to anyone and focus on honing their technical skills.well as what effects the manikins have on the student’s education themselves. Talking to their peers during practice helped students get used to conversing with other people and multi-tasking while treating a patient.This study also generated new ideas and insights into a field which is very much Despite at times encouraging unprofessionalunder-researched. behaviour, the artificial factors of the phantom heads and the phantom head laboratory itself wereMethod: in fact useful to the training of students.An ethnographic approach which consisted of observations with 12 participants Communication(video-recorded) and semi-structured in-depth qualitative interviews with 3 Students communicated amongst each other and their teachers. In some cases,participants (audio-recorded) were carried out to explore what the participants By using ANT, it becomes possible to distinguishthought about these manikins, in addition to their role as practical aids to they named their phantom heads. the device as a complex, assortment ofdevelop technical skills. associations which are simultaneously social andOverview analysis and line-by line analysis were carried out on the transcribed ANT and phantom heads technical. A whole series of natural, technical andinterviews followed by the data being coded for themes. A textual summary was ANT can be called upon to explain why after the invention of the phantom head human elements are linked and enclosed into ataken from the videos and observational data. All participants were second year its popularity within the dental education system ‘took off’ and how its spreaddental students. particular device. Although ANT does not present throughout all institutions came about. ANT considers technologies to come simple answers, using it while spotlighting phantom about and be amalgamated with people into a network which subsequentlyFindings: interacts with other networks. As networks become stronger and more stable, heads helps understand the current dentalThe results of the observations and interviews focused on how the phantom they can be treated as points in a larger network1 education development broadly.heads figured in the socialisation process in addition to their role as practicalaids to developing technical skills. The following themes emerged: The phantom head associates a large variety of different actors, many humans Learning (students and technicians to name just 2) and some material actors (rubber References: cheeks, jaws, teeth, main head structure and chest.) 1.Williams-Jones, B. & Graham, J.E. 2003. Actor-Network Theory: a tool to support ethical analysis ofSpatial Awareness commercial genetic testing. New Genetics and Society, 22, (3) 271-296.Students appreciated that working with phantom heads helped them learn how 2.Latour, B. 2005. Reassembling the Social: An Introduction to Actor-Network Theory Oxford, Oxfordto; sit in a comfortable and appropriate way when it came to treating patients, sit The attachment of students to their phantom heads can be seen as a success of University Press the product. When phantom heads are doing their job, the network is more 3.Prout, A. 1996. Actor network theory, technology and medical sociology: An illustrative analysis of thein the correct position and have better control of the lamp. metered dose inhaler. Sociology of Health & Illness, 18, (2) 198-219 Realism stable. If the heads were not effective, the opposite effect would result. FIGURE 1 A typical phantom headLab setting and timetable University of Leeds. Dental Institute. http://reporter.leeds.ac.uk/523/s12.htm . 2007. 20-6-2010. Ref Type: Online SourceStudents wore uniform and appropriate protective gear worn in clinics. They are As successive groups of human actors were enrolled, each was configured in FIGURE 2 An example of the phantom head class. Photo taken by Faiza Syedaresponsible for sterilising everything, collecting instruments and setting up their terms of a new set of abilities, as one set of competencies implied another for FIGURE 3 Japanese Dental Robotown clinics. Hand sanitizers and health warning posters are located throughout actors linked in the same network. Engadget. Image of Japanese Dental Robot. http://www.engadget.com/2007/11/28/simroid-robot-lets-the laboratory, resembling a dental clinic. dental-students-know-what-hurts/ . 2007. 11-7-2010. Ref Type: Online SourceAcknowledgements: This study was conducted as part of a Masters dissertation at the Centre for Biomedicine and Society at Kings College London. I would like to thank Dr. Alex Faulkner , Professor Steven Wainwright and Professor Clare Williams for their support and advice.