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J Dent Hyg. 2017 Apr;91(2):23-31.

Student Preparation for the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination: A national survey of dental hygiene program directors.


Purpose: Dental hygiene students nearing completion of their educational programs are required to take written and clinical examinations in order to be eligible for licensure. The written licensure exam, the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination (NBDHE), is administered by the Joint Commission of National Dental Examinations (JCNDE). Failing a licensing examination is a costly experience for students and has the potential for a negative impact on a program's accreditation status. Nursing programs have published extensively on strategies used to prepare students for licensure examinations. However, there appears to be a gap in the literature as to how dental hygiene programs prepare their students to take the NBDHE. The purpose of this study was to conduct a national survey of U.S. dental hygiene program directors to determine what strategies their programs employ to prepare students to take the NBDHE and to explore the viewpoints of dental hygiene program directors regarding student preparation methods for the NBDHE.Methods: An survey instrument was developed, pilot tested, revised and mailed to directors of the 335 CODA accredited U.S. dental hygiene programs. The survey consisted of a combination of response formats including forced choice, multiple allowable answered, and open-ended written comments.Results: A total of 154 surveys were returned, yielding an overall response rate of 45% (154/341). The vast majority of directors (93%) reported they use specific methods and practices to prepare students for the NBDHE. The top two strategies identified were dental hygiene review texts (84%) and a board review course (83%). The majority of directors (84%) reported supporting student participation in non-mandatory, commercial review courses. In regard to mock board exams, directors "agreed/strongly agreed" (75%) that the mock board exam is a useful coaching tool in the overall process of NBDHE preparations. A majority (65%) indicated they were not concerned with failure rates, and 43% reported failure rates do reflect on the program.Conclusion: These results suggest that the majority of dental hygiene programs are utilizing strategies to prepare students for the NBDHE with board review textbooks and board review courses named as the top two strategies.


National Board Dental Hygiene Examination (NBDHE); dental hygiene education; dental hygiene licensure; dental hygiene students; mock boards

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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