Dental hygiene grads maintain high standard year after year

UAlberta dental hygiene diploma graduates score above national average on certification exam for fifth year in a row.

FoMD Staff - 23 August 2013

(Edmonton) The University of Alberta's dental hygiene diploma graduates have two more reasons to celebrate this summer.

For the fifth year in a row, the U of A diploma graduates scored above the national average in every category of the National Dental Hygiene Certification Examination. The five categories are assessment and diagnosis, foundations, implementation, planning and evaluation, and professionalism.

"It is an honour for me to share news on our students' success," said Sharon Compton, director of the dental hygiene program at the U of A. "The recognition doesn't just belong to the students, but to all of our dedicated educators who prepare and support them through their learning."

Compton notes that the dental hygiene program is intense. "The students need to learn so much in just a little bit of time and when they reach the end of the program, there is a great sense of accomplishment that they worked hard to earn their coveted diplomas."

She adds that the dental hygiene program promotes learning in more than just traditional dentistry. Research, public speaking and critical thinking skills all play an important role in becoming a health-care professional. During the program, students are actively involved in the community and can often be seen promoting healthy oral care on television or at local events.

The 2013 graduates couldn't have picked a better year to keep their streak of excellence alive. At the U of A's Alumni Weekend this September, the 1963 dental hygiene grads-the first class to graduate from the program-will celebrate their 50th year. They persevered in the face of adversity fifty years ago in that the sixties was a decade of change for women bringing forth the Women's Liberation movement. As the baby boom waned in the late 1960s, women entered the workforce in droves, and finding equality among the male dominated society was a fight. The power to change society was in the hands of women, and right here, at the University of Alberta, it was in the hands of you-the first group of students to enter the dental auxiliary program. It was your small group of determined young women who wanted to make a change to pave the way for others.

This year, the program had 207 applications and enrolled 42 students-39 females and three males. In addition to the diploma students, there are 11 fourth-year students in the degree program and 44 students pursuing their degree part-time.

"I can confidently say that the program we have today is highly respected across the country and beyond, and that our new grads will be great ambassadors as they move forward in their careers," said Compton.