Dental Hygiene programs have a responsibility to help potential applicants determine if dental hygiene is the best career choice for them. Good fit of career promotes a satisfied workforce, along with program retention. The purpose of this study was to evaluate students’ satisfaction with an introductory course on career choice in dental hygiene and to assess the influence of the course on their perceptions of a career in this profession. Pre- and post-course surveys were distributed to 186 students enrolled in “Perspectives in Dental Hygiene” at a state university. An overall response rate of 97% (N=181) was achieved. The average participant was 18 to 19 years old, female, Caucasian, worked 0 to 10 hours/week, and self-reported a GPA of 3.5 to 4.0. A Wilcoxen signed rank test revealed a significant decrease (p<.001) in desire to pursue dental hygiene after course completion. Strong support for the value of the course was demonstrated; the course was recommended by 99% of participants who indicated a desire to pursue dental hygiene and 94% of participants who did not want to pursue dental hygiene. All participants who were unsure or did not want to pursue dental hygiene agreed they are more knowledgeable about the profession as a result of the course. The findings indicate that dental hygiene programs can utilize a pre-requisite introductory course on dental hygiene career choice to help applicants assess career fit.
Monson AL, Cooper BR. Design of Introductory Course to Improve Career Decision Making in Dental Hygiene. The Internet Journal of Allied Health Sciences and Practice. 2009 Jan 01;7(1), Article 10.