Outcomes Assessment of an Education Program to Enhance Ethics and Professionalism in Dental Hygiene Practice
Authors: Bowen, Denise M; Paarmann, Carlene S; Christie, Carole R
Source: Journal of Dental Hygiene, 1 October 2007, vol. 81, no. 4, pp. 92-92(1)
Abstract:This project is the culmination of a long-term program to enhance student competence and program outcomes related to ethical reasoning and professionalism. The process included: 1) developing 5 supporting competencies; 2) assessing related course content and evaluation methods; 3) incorporating ethics and professionalism throughout the curriculum; 4) implementing faculty development using core values for assessing students' professional judgment in clinic; 5) evaluating students' professional judgment during patient care; and 6) surveying graduating students and recent alumni in practice.
Affective and tangible components of ethical reasoning and professionalism can be competitive with financial and production expectations in practice. Students must be taught ethical decision-making and critical thinking skills to resolve competing interests and provide patient-centered care. To ascertain if competence is retained effective evaluation is needed throughout the curriculum, at graduation, and after entry into practice.
Outcomes assessment of ethics and professionalism included graduating seniors' exit interviews (N=25) and alumni surveys one and 3 years post-graduation (N=29). Qualitative differences after program implementation were notable with 100% exit interview comments positive regarding education in ethics and professionalism, no suggestions for improvement made, and all interviewees reporting competence and confidence in ethical reasoning and decision making. Comments (49%) prior to curricular change and faculty development suggested changes needed in this aspect of their education. One year and 3 years post-graduation respondents (100%) strongly agreed or moderately agreed with the following: 1) their reasoning ability about ethical and professional dilemmas was enhanced by their dental hygiene education; 2) they demonstrated professional conduct in practice using ethical decision making and problem solving skills; and 3) their professional decisions were consistent with dental hygiene standards of care and legal regulations. This project documents long-term effectiveness of one approach for increasing awareness and competency in ethics and professional responsibility during patient care.
Document Type: Abstract
Publication date: October 1, 2007