Dental hygiene clinical faculty attitudes and likelihood of working during the COVID-19 pandemic

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Delacruz, Natalie M.
Anderson, Kelly L.
Smith, Barbara S.

Delacruz, N.M., Anderson, K.L., & Smith, B.S. (2023). Dental hygiene clinical faculty attitudes and likelihood of working during the COVID-19 pandemic. International Journal of Dental Hygiene.


Objective: To identify circumstances that influenced dental hygiene clinical faculty's likelihood of working during the COVID-19 pandemic, and to explore attitudes (responsibilities, personal issues, ethics, and policy statements) about working. Methods: This cross-sectional study used a purposive sample of dental hygienists (n = 1710) employed in academic clinical settings that held full-time, part-time, or adjunct appointments. The Health Care Workers' Attitudes to Working During a Pandemic survey was utilized. Likelihood scores were calculated based on respondents more or less likely to work under differing circumstances. Frequencies of agreement for attitudes were developed. Correlations were explored between likelihood scores and demographic data. Answers to the open-ended questions were categorized and described. Results: The response rate was 13.5% (225/1710). Only one-third of respondents had a likelihood score of 100%. Factors with the greatest impact on likelihood to work were personal protective equipment. Almost all respondents' attitudes of working indicated that their employer is responsible for providing PPE. Over 90% felt their main responsibility was to themselves/family. Correlation analyses resulted in no significant associations between likelihood scores and age, etc. Faculty are considering leaving their jobs because of pay cuts and/or not feeling safe. Conclusion: Likelihood of working for dental hygiene faculty represents several personal and ethical decisions. Most respondents want employers to be responsible for their on-the-job safety. In addition, personal and work-related issues were causes of unease. The pandemic has had far-reaching implications on day-to-day work of dental hygiene clinical faculty as well as on the long-term trajectories and views on employment in higher education.

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