Influences on the perceptions of professionalism in dental hygiene

Deborah Anne Wilson, University of Pennsylvania

Abstract

Dental hygiene changes as it responds to a global society. One of these significant changes is the emergence of new roles for dental hygienists, which is a step in the professionalization process. However, little progress is perceived to have taken place in terms of determining what is valued in professionalism. The study examined what various groups of dental hygienists, including educational leaders, political leaders, and grassroots practitioners, perceived as having an impact on professionalism, and what importance these elements are perceived to have. The investigation has realized the above purpose through analysis of qualitative data from focus groups and interviews, and quantitative data from surveys. The research design in the qualitative area was adapted to fit the need of the study, as supported by Lincoln and Guba. Phenomenology with modified-grounded theory was employed with focus groups and interviews of dental hygiene leaders. Constant comparative technique of data collection was used and dental hygienist co-researchers were employed to assure accuracy of the data. A survey was developed from these data and sent to a total of 1,000 grassroots dental hygienists in two states. These states were Washington, perceived to be a liberal practice state, and Pennsylvania, perceived to be restrictive. ANOVAs were used to analyze these quantitative data. Dental hygienists agree with the literature about elements that are important in professionalism. They also value six emergent elements. There were 13 independent variables studied; nine had significance and were reported. While some differences emerged with the groups, the results show that dental hygienists are a homogeneous group with shared values when professionalism is considered. Definitions of liberal and restrictive practice of dental hygiene emerged and the differences in the valuing of elements of professionalism between dental hygienists in liberal and restrictive practice states were studied. Additional study is recommended.

Subject Area

Dental care|Health education

Recommended Citation

Wilson, Deborah Anne, "Influences on the perceptions of professionalism in dental hygiene" (2001). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI3003707.
https://repository.upenn.edu/dissertations/AAI3003707

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