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J Dent Hyg. 2018 Feb;92(1):40-50.

Factors Influencing Dental Hygienists' Decisions to Pursue Doctoral Degrees.

Abstract

Purpose: To identify the factors that have influenced dental hygienists to pursue post-graduate education opportunities, specifically dental (DDS, DMD) as compared to academic doctoral degrees, such as doctor of philosophy (PhD) or doctor of education (EdD).Methods: A convenience sample of dental hygienists with doctoral degrees were identified from multiple sources (n=140) and sent a 27-item web-based survey. Univariate logistic regression analysis was used to explore the influence of independent variables (respondents' demographic and personal characteristics, influential persons and experiences, encouraging and motivating factors) on the respondents' decision to pursue either a dental or an academic doctoral degree.Results: Of the 140 potential participants, 69 (n=69) responded (49% response rate): 17 dental degree respondents, 46 academic degree respondents. In contrast to academic degree respondents, those with dental degrees graduated from dental hygiene programs more recently (p=0.03), spent less time working as a dental hygienist (p=0.01), considered themselves mechanically inclined (p=0.03), and preferred to learn a new skill rather than read about a current research study (p=0.002). Both groups agreed that working one-on-one with people was important to career satisfaction. Dental degree respondents were more likely to have been influenced or encouraged to pursue dentistry by dentists (p=0.01) and family (p=0.004). Academic degree respondents were more likely to have had experiences with a researcher/scientist (p=0.004) or had been influenced by an educator (p=0.01). Only 40% of all respondents reported that dental hygiene instructors were instrumental in encouraging their advanced education.Conclusion: Dental hygienists possessing characteristics similar to the academic degree respondents in this study should be encouraged to pursue academic doctoral education, providing the necessary skills to advance the dental hygiene profession.

KEYWORDS:

dental hygiene education; faculty development; postgraduate education; professional development

PMID:
29500284

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