Amidst a pandemic, dental hygiene graduates achieve excellence

Results from the July 2020 National Dental Hygiene Certification Board (NDHCE) are in, and the Dental Hygiene (DH) graduates from the University of Alberta (U of A), School of Dentistry have once again scored well above the national average.

Cheryl Deslaurier - 28 August 2020

For 15 years in a row now, DH graduates have maintained an outstanding record of beating the national average. This year was the first graduate class of the degree-only program that was implemented in 2017.

"To be able to remain focused in such challenging times has highlighted the resilience of our graduates," says Dr. Sharon Compton, director of the Dental Hygiene Degree Program at the U of A. "It also has highlighted the calibre of our program and faculty who teach."

Compton expresses her pride in this accomplishment. She says, "Because our record has been very consistent and considered normal, I really wanted to share this news because I feel that the real story is about the students and their ability to persevere."

Not only did students demonstrate an ability to manage a rigorous course load in a new degree program, but they also faced a pandemic, and with that, a lot of uncertainty and added stress.

"Having a chance to reflect on the past few months, words cannot convey how truly proud and impressed I am of our students, graduates, and our faculty," she says. "The journey to get here was not easy, but certainly could not have been done without everybody’s contributions, understanding and strength."

The NDHCE has five categories: assessment and diagnosis, foundations, implementation, planning and evaluation, and professionalism, all of which are reflective of what they take in their program. The exam results are also categorized into the domains of knowledge/comprehension, application, and critical thinking and again, all scores were above the national average.

The degree program admits 42 students each year.