Practicing dental hygienists' perceptions about the bachelor of science in dental hygiene and the oral health practitioner
Anderson, Kelly L.
Smith, Barbara S.
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Journal of dental education. 2009 Oct; 73(10): 1222-32.
No research data are available about practicing dental hygienists' opinions regarding the Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene (B.S.D.H.) and the oral health practitioner (OHP), a new professional category in dental hygiene; however, such views would be useful to those implementing these programs in the academic setting as well as those involved in proposing and passing legislation regarding them. The purpose of our study was to gather information from a group of practicing dental hygienists regarding their opinions in three areas: 1) the entry-level B.S.D.H., 2) the OHP, and 3) reasons for being for or against these programs. A survey, sent to 564 dental hygiene graduates, used a five-point Likert scale to evaluate perceptions in various categories. The respondents also ranked perceived benefits and negative impacts. The usable return rate was 33.6 percent. Descriptive statistics were developed, and chi-square tests were used to analyze the data. More than 70 percent of the respondents agreed that an associate's degree sufficiently prepared dental hygienists for their positions and that the OHP would have a positive impact on access to dental care. The majority also said they felt the master's-educated hygienist would be adequately prepared to perform proposed OHP functions. Selected demographic variables were found to be significantly associated with perceptions, including that the B.S.D.H. was viewed more positively by younger respondents.
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