Dental Hygiene diploma graduates score above national average

Dental hygiene diploma graduates scored above the national average in every category.

Cheryl Deslaurier - 08 September 2011

University of Alberta dental-hygiene diploma graduates scored above the national average in every category of the National Dental Hygiene Certification Examination during the most recent round of final exams.

"This is a significant achievement," said Sharon Compton, director of the dental hygiene program in the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry at the U of A. "We've achieved this standing a couple of times in the past, but this was a more significant margin."

Compton says that this is not only a reflection on how well the students have performed, but also is a reflection on how well the instructors teach the program curriculum. "Our faculty is stellar," she says.

The dental hygiene program is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. It was established by Margaret MacLean in 1961. Compton says the program has evolved over time, making it one of the top dental-hygiene programs across Canada.

"I feel strongly about further defining excellence for dental hygiene as a valuable part of health care," she says. Compton adds a few ways the program continues to improve itself is through continuous enhancements to teaching methods, active research and ongoing course development.

The bachelor of science degree with a dental hygiene specialization and a dental-hygiene post-diploma degree were instituted in 2000. Since then, Compton says there has been an increase in the number of diploma students that stay to do the degree program. This year, there are 38 out of 48 students continuing on.

"These are great numbers," she says. "I'm very pleased with the way the program is progressing."