Date of Award

Fall 2016

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Dental Hygiene

Committee Director

Susan Daniel

Committee Member

Tara Newcomb

Committee Member

Denise Claiborne

Abstract

Purpose: evaluate dental hygiene graduates’ perceived preparedness and confidence to practice in alternative settings. Methods: a survey was sent through ADHA to all members who graduated within the last year (2015-2016) with a minimum of one-week work experience. The survey consisted of demographics, and two alternative practice scales. Independent variables characterized as follows: (1) graduate of a baccalaureate degree dental hygiene program within an allied health science program, (2) graduate of a baccalaureate degree dental hygiene program within a dental school, or (3) graduate of an associate degree dental hygiene program. The dependent variables were preparedness, confidence and practice management skills. Results: A total of 319 responses were received; 303 participants met inclusion criteria. The majority (97.7%) of the sample was female. Over two thirds of respondents (68.5%) were aged 20 to 30 years. Most respondents (85.8%) worked in a private setting. Only 2 dental hygienists worked under direct access. Most respondents had an associate degree. Dental hygienists aged 20–30 years showed significantly higher level of preparedness over those above 30 years, p =0.043. Dental hygienists practicing under direct supervision demonstrated significantly lower levels of preparedness than the other hygienists, p =0.030. Graduates from programs located in a collage of allied health reported being less prepared for alternative practice than graduates from programs located in a dental school; p=0.032. Conclusions: Most hygienists from this study were working in dentists’ offices; however, majority felt prepared to pursue careers in alternative settings. Hygienists showed a high level of confidence in their clinical skills but they were not confident enough with their practice management skills. No differences were identified for self-confidence or practice management skills.

ISBN

9781369506099

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