Implementing Survey Research into Strategic Planning Activities in Idaho to Advance the Science and Practice of Dental Hygiene

Authors: Hodges, Kathleen O; Calley, Kristin H

Source: Journal of Dental Hygiene, 1 January 2006, vol. 80, no. 1, pp. 34-34(1)


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Purpose. For strategic planning, the Idaho Dental Hygienists‘ Association uses survey methodology to identify the opinions and concerns of dental hygienists. This study aimed to assess dental Hygienists‘ opinions about advanced dental hygiene practice and legislative activities.

Methods and Materials. In 2002, a coded questionnaire was mailed to Idaho dental hygiene licensees (N = 865). Section I addressed demographic characteristics. Section II surveyed professional concerns, illegal practice, and legislative activities. Respondents were asked to rank 14 professional issues by selecting their top five concerns about dental hygiene practice. Also, respondents were asked if they supported expanding the scope of practice and if they would provide care in alternative practice settings. Data were analyzed using frequency distributions and nonparametric tests of association.

Results. A 60% (N = 519) response rate was obtained after two mailings. Three professional issues were ranked as follows: 1) the national trend to reduce entry-level education (64.9%), 2) dental assistants performing dental hygiene services (61.1%), and 3) legalizing self-regulation (49.8%). Also, 90.9% (n = 460) of respondents supported the expansion of the practice act to improve access to care. Unsupervised practice in public health settings was most important (95.4%), and local anesthesia administration under general supervision was second most important (88.9%). Unsupervised practice in all settings was ranked third most important (85.2%), and providing restorative services was the fourth most important (81.7%) practice act expansion identified. Eighty-nine percent supported having a bachelor's degree to provide unsupervised care. Data were used to support the 2004 legislation to expand the dental hygiene practice act.

Conclusion. It is vital for state professional associations to utilize information from licensees for strategic planning and legislative efforts. Idaho dental hygienists are concerned about maintaining quality education, expanding access to care to the underserved, providing restorative services, and educating dental personnel about state laws.

Document Type: Abstract

Publication date: January 1, 2006

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