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J Dent Hyg. 2018 Aug;92(4):18-26.

Exploring the Integration of the Dental Hygiene Diagnosis in Entry-Level Dental Hygiene Curricula.


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to investigate how dental hygiene educational programs currently incorporate dental hygiene diagnosis (DHDx) into entry-level, dental hygiene curriculum.Methods: An exploratory, quantitative, descriptive cross-sectional study was designed to assess the extent to which DHDx is integrated into entry-level dental hygiene curriculum. A 30-item survey was designed and content validity established using a subset of dental hygiene faculty and researchers as well as participants from the American Dental Hygienists' Association. Data was collected using the Qualtrics® electronic platform; two electronic mailings were sent to all entry-level dental hygiene programs. All surveys included a consent form and confidentiality was maintained. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze data.Results: Of the 334 surveys e-mailed, 198 responses (n=198) were received for a 59% response rate. Of the program respondents, 98% (n=191) reported that the dental hygiene process of care and concepts specifically relating to the DHDx were being taught. In addition, 79% (n=153) of respondents confirmed that they "always" require students to write a DHDx statement for the patients. Of the respondents, 80% (n=150) recognized that formulating a DHDx should result in improved patient outcomes and 76% (n=143) indicated that formulating a DHDx increases the dental hygienist's accountability in patient care.Conclusion: This exploratory study assessed the extent to which the DHDx is taught in entry-level dental hygiene programs. Findings confirmed that the DHDx is an integral component of dental hygiene education, but there is a need for standardization and faculty calibration for DHDx concepts and terminology. These results support adding DHDx into the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) standards.


accreditation standards; dental hygiene diagnosis; dental hygiene education; dental hygiene process of care

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