Student Learning Outcomes

ADEA Competencies for entry into the profession of dental hygiene

Upon successful completion of the Dental Hygiene Program the graduate will be competent in the following areas:

I. Ethics/Professionalism

The competent dental hygiene practitioner provides skilled care using the highest professional knowledge, judgment and ability (ADHA Code of Ethics). This skilled care should be based on contemporary knowledge, and the practitioner should be capable of discerning and managing ethical issues and problems in the practice of dental hygiene.

The Dental Hygiene Program will facilitate the development of professional, ethical, and competent dental hygienists who make professional decisions affecting the practice of dental hygiene that satisfy legal, societal and ethical principles by exhibiting the following behavior:

  1. Apply a professional code of ethics in all endeavors
  2. Adhere to state and federal laws, recommendations and regulations in the provision of dental hygiene care.
  3. Provide dental hygiene care to promote patient/client health and wellness using critical thinking and problem solving in the provision of evidence-based practice.
  4. Assume responsibility for dental hygiene actions and care based on accepted scientific theories and research as well as the accepted standard of care.
  5. Continuously perform self-assessment for life-long learning and professional growth.
  6. Advance the profession through service activities and affiliations with professional organizations.
  7. Provide quality assurance mechanisms for health services.
  8. Communicate effectively with individuals and groups from diverse populations both verbally and in writing.
  9. Provide accurate, consistent and complete documentation for assessment, diagnosis, planning, implementation and evaluation of dental hygiene services.
  10. Provide care to all clients using an individualized approach that is humane, empathetic and caring.
II. Health Promotion and Disease Prevention

The dental hygiene student/graduate will educate patients concerning their risk factors and assist in developing self-care regimens by exhibiting the ability to:

  1. Promote the values of oral and general health and wellness to the public and organizations within and outside the profession.
  2. Respect the goals, values, beliefs and preferences of the patient while promoting optimal oral and general health.
  3. Refer patients who may have a physiologic, psychological, and/or social problem for comprehensive patient/client evaluation.
  4. Identify individual and population risk factors and develop strategies that promote health related quality of life.
  5. Evaluate factors that can be used to promote patient adherence to disease prevention and /or health maintenance strategies.
  6. Evaluate and utilize methods to ensure the health and safety of the patient and the dental hygienist in the delivery of dental hygiene.
III. Community Involvement

The Dental Hygiene Program will provide opportunities for the community to access dental hygiene services by:

  1. Assess the oral health needs of the community and the quality and availability of resources and services.
  2. Provide screening, referral, and educational services that allow clients to access the resources of the health care system.
  3. Provide community oral health services in a variety of settings.
  4. Facilitate client access to oral health services by influencing individuals and/or organizations for the provision of oral health care.
  5. Evaluate reimbursement mechanisms and their impact on the patient’s access to oral health care.
  6. Evaluate the outcomes of community based programs and plan for future activities.
IV. Patient Care

The dental hygiene program determines differential, provisional or definitive dental hygiene diagnoses related to and congruent with the diagnosis of the dentist and other health professionals.

The student dental hygienist will learn the following competencies to aid in dental hygiene diagnoses, assessment, planning and treatment.

  1. Systematically collect, analyze and record data on the general, oral and psychosocial health status of a variety of patients using methods consistent with medico legal principles.
  2. Use critical decision making skills to reach conclusions about the patient’s dental hygiene needs based on all available assessment data.
  3. Collaborate with the patient and/or other health professionals, to formulate a comprehensive dental hygiene care plan that is patient centered and based on current scientific evidence.
  4. Provide specialized treatment that includes preventive and therapeutic services designed to achieve and maintain oral health. Assist in achieving oral health goals formulated in collaborations with the patient.
  5. Evaluate the effectiveness of the implemented clinical, preventive, and educational services and modify as needed.
V. Professional Growth and Development

Dental hygiene graduates will demonstrate the following competencies to promote oral health as an integral part of the health and welfare of the community through involvement in oral health care programs and activities for diverse populations.

  1. Identify alternative career options within health-care, industry, education, and research and evaluates the feasibility of pursuing dental hygiene opportunities.
  2. Develop management and marketing strategies to be used in non-traditional health care settings.
  3. Access professional and social networks and resources to assist entrepreneurial initiatives.