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Competencies for the Vermont Technical College Dental Hygiene Student

The American Dental Education Association and others have recognized that competency statements are essential to the structure and evaluation of a dental hygiene curriculum. Competencies have been defined as the behavior expected of beginning practitioners, that includes psychomotor skills, knowledge of when and how to use it, demonstration of the values of the profession and the ability to communicate that knowledge and values. The behavior must be performed at or above an acceptable level defined by standards and accomplished without assistance. This document delineates the competencies required of students for successful completion of the Vermont Technical College Dental Hygiene program.

Competencies for Entry into the Profession of Dental Hygiene

Dental hygienists must complete an accredited educational program and qualify for licensure in any state or jurisdiction. They practice in collaboration with dental and other health care professionals in a variety of settings.
Competencies for Entry into the Profession of Dental Hygiene
Dental hygienists must complete an accredited educational program and qualify for licensure in any state or jurisdiction. They practice in collaboration with dental and other health care professionals in a variety of settings.

Core Competencies (C)

C.1 Apply a professional code of ethics in all endeavors.

C.2 Adhere to state and federal laws, recommendations, and regulations in the provision of oral health care.

C.3 Use critical thinking skills and comprehensive problem-solving to identify oral health care strategies that promote patient health and wellness.

C.4 Use evidence-based decision making to evaluate emerging technology and treatment modalities to integrate into patient dental hygiene care plans to achieve high-quality, cost-effective care.

C.5 Assume responsibility for professional actions and care based on accepted scientific theories, research, and the accepted standard of care.

C.6 Continuously perform self-assessment for lifelong learning and professional growth.

C.7 Integrate accepted scientific theories and research into educational, preventive, and therapeutic oral health services.

C.8 Promote the values of the dental hygiene profession through service-based activities, positive community affiliations, and active involvement in local organizations.

C.9 Apply quality assurance mechanisms to ensure continuous commitment to accepted standards of care.

C.10 Communicate effectively with diverse individuals and groups, serving all persons without discrimination by acknowledging and appreciating diversity.

C.11 Record accurate, consistent, and complete documentation of oral health services provided.

C.12 Initiate a collaborative approach with all patients when developing individualized care plans that are specialized, comprehensive, culturally sensitive, and acceptable to all parties involved in care planning.

C.13 Initiate consultations and collaborations with all relevant health care providers to facilitate optimal treatments.

C.14 Manage medical emergencies by using professional judgment, providing life support, and utilizing required CPR and any specialized training or knowledge.

Health Promotion and Disease Prevention (HP)

HP.1 Promote positive values of overall health and wellness to the public and organizations within and outside the profession.

HP.2 Respect the goals, values, beliefs, and preferences of all patients.

HP.3 Refer patients who may have physiological, psychological, or social problems for comprehensive evaluation.

HP.4 Identify individual and population risk factors, and develop strategies that promote health-related quality of life.

HP.5 Evaluate factors that can be used to promote patient adherence to disease prevention or health maintenance strategies.

HP.6 Utilize methods that ensure the health and safety of the patient and the oral health professional in the delivery of care.

Community Involvement (CM)

CM.1 Assess the oral health needs and services of the community to determine action plans and availability of resources to meet the health care needs.

CM.2 Provide screening, referral, and educational services that allow patients to access the resources of the health care system.

CM.3 Provide community oral health services in a variety of settings.

CM.4 Facilitate patient access to oral health services by influencing individuals or organizations for the provision of oral health care.

CM.5 Evaluate reimbursement mechanisms and their impact on the patientís access to oral health care.

CM.6 Evaluate the outcomes of community-based programs, and plan for future activities.

CM.7 Advocate for effective oral health care for underserved populations.

Patient Care (PC)

PC.1 Systematically collect, analyze, and record diagnostic data on the general, oral, and psychosocial health status of a variety of patients using methods consistent with medicolegal principles.

PC.2 Recognize predisposing and etiologic risk factors that require intervention to prevent disease.

PC.3 Recognize the relationships among systemic disease, medications, and oral health that impact overall patient care and treatment outcomes.

PC.4 Identify patients at risk for a medical emergency, and manage the patient care in a manner that prevents an emergency.

Dental Hygiene Diagnosis
PC.5 Use patient assessment data, diagnostic technologies, and critical decision making skills to determine a dental hygiene diagnosis, a component of the dental diagnosis, to reach conclusions about the patientís dental hygiene care needs.

PC.6 Utilize reflective judgment in developing a comprehensive patient dental hygiene care plan.

PC.7 Collaborate with the patient and other health professionals as indicated to formulate a comprehensive dental hygiene care plan that is patient-centered and based on the best scientific evidence and professional judgment.

PC.8 Make referrals to professional colleagues and other health care professionals as indicated in the patient care plan.

PC.9 Obtain the patientís informed consent based on a thorough case presentation.

PC.10 Provide specialized treatment that includes educational, preventive, and therapeutic services designed to achieve and maintain oral health. Partner with the patient in achieving oral health goals.

PC.11 Evaluate the effectiveness of the provided services, and modify care plans as needed.

PC.12 Determine the outcomes of dental hygiene interventions using indices, instruments, examination techniques, and patient self-reports as specified in patient goals.

PC.13 Compare actual outcomes to expected outcomes, reevaluating goals, diagnoses, and services when expected outcomes are not achieved.

Professional Growth and Development (PGD)
PGD.1 Pursue career opportunities within health care, industry, education, research, and other roles as they evolve for the dental hygienist.

PGD.2 Develop practice management and marketing strategies to be used in the delivery of oral health care.

PGD.3 Access professional and social networks to pursue professional goals.

The Vermont Technical College Department of Dental Hygiene uses three levels of competency:  Novice, Beginner and Competent.  They are defined as follows:

Novice:  The first semester dental hygiene student is in control of many facts and skills; understands the purpose of the skills; has the ability to somewhat modify skill performance

Beginner:  The dental second and third semester dental hygiene student is progressing through the curriculum; engages in some synthesis of skills; begins to integrate knowledge and skills; makes some appropriate judgments

Competent:  The fourth semester dental hygiene student has completed curricular requirements and is ready to begin independent practice; is capable of independent performance; routinely makes appropriate judgments; exercises self-control; has attained appropriate speed, accuracy and knowledge