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J Dent Hyg. 2015 Apr;89(2):109-18.

Assessment of pathology instruction in U.S. Dental hygiene educational programs.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

To assess the instruction of pathology content in entry-level and advanced practitioner dental hygiene educational programs and the program directors' perceptions whether their graduates are adequately prepared to meet the increasingly complex medical and oral health needs of the public.

METHODS:

A 28-question survey of instructional content and perceptions was developed and distributed using Qualtrics® software to the 340 directors of entry-level and advanced practitioner dental hygiene programs in the US. Respondents rated their level of agreement to a series of statements regarding their perceptions of graduates' preparation to perform particular dental hygiene services associated with pathology. Descriptive statistics for all 28 categorical survey questions were calculated and presented as the frequency (percentage).

RESULTS:

Of the 340 directors surveyed, 130 (38%) responded. Most entry-level respondents (53%) agreed or strongly agreed (29%) that their graduates were adequately prepared to meet the complex medical and oral health needs of the public, while all respondents of advanced practitioner programs strongly agreed. More respondents strongly agreed to statements related to clinical instruction than to didactic courses. While 64% of respondents agreed that their graduates were prepared to practice unsupervised, if it were legally allowed, 21% were ambivalent. The extent of pathology instruction in entry-level programs varied, but most used traditional formats of instruction, educational resources and assessments of educational outcomes. Advanced practitioner programs emphasized histological and clinical examination of oral lesions and patient case studies.

CONCLUSION:

Strengthening pathology instruction would ensure that future generations of dental hygienists would be adequately prepared to treat medically compromised patients.

KEYWORDS:

dental hygiene curriculum; dental hygiene programs; dental hygiene students; medically compromised patients; oral cancer; oral pathology

PMID:
25883372
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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