The Dental Hygiene program at Eastern Washington University is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation. A Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene signifies the holder is prepared for entry to the dental hygiene profession. The Department of Dental Hygiene has adopted the following essential functions for admission, promotion and graduation for its entry-level professional program. Dental Hygiene is an intellectually, physically, and psychologically demanding profession. During the rigorous two-year curriculum, the student begins to develop the qualities needed to practice dental hygiene. Students acquire the foundation of knowledge, attitudes, skills and behaviors needed throughout the dental hygienists’ professional career. Those abilities that dental hygienists must possess to practice safely and in a professionally competent manner are reflected in the essential functions that follow.
Students must be able to meet the following minimum standards, with or without reasonable accommodation, for successful completion of degree requirements.
A. Visual Acuity
- Must be able to read small printed labels on medications and other pertinent supplies.
- Must be able to read small numbers on instruments.
- Must be able to determine detail in small areas of the mouth varying from <5mm to several cm.
- Must possess adequate depth perception to evaluate size, shape and texture in small areas with minimal contrast
- Must be able to determine very slight variations in color.
B. Speaking Ability
- Verbal expression must be clear and distinct enough to enunciate dental terminology while wearing a face mask.
- Must be able to express thoughts clearly in English.
C. Motor Skills
Must have sufficient motor function to execute movements reasonably required to provide general care and treatment to patients including:
- The ability to directly operate foot controls using fine movements.
- The ability to operate hand and mechanical dental hygiene instruments around the teeth and structures in the oral cavity.
- The ability to perform palpation, percussion, and other diagnostic maneuvers and procedures.
- The ability to transfer and position disabled patients and to physically restrain patients who lack motor control.
- The ability to position and reposition self around patient and chair in a sitting and standing position.
Must have coordination of both gross and fine muscular movements, equilibrium and integrated use of the senses of touch and vision to execute movements reasonably required to provide general care and treatment to patients as detailed above.
D. Adaptive Ability
- Must be able to successfully complete required tasks/functions under stressful conditions.
- Must be able to perform with minimal supervision.
- Must be able to interact appropriately with all members of the dental team, patients, patient representatives (e.g. parents, guardians, family members, interpreters, etc.).
- Must be able to function in a structured environment with time constraints.
E. Language Ability
- Must be able to read, write, speak, record and report in English.
- Must be able to comprehend written and oral directions given in English and carry them out.
- Must be able to have conversations in English on the telephone and one-on-one.
- Must be able to observe demonstrations in lecture, clinical and laboratory settings. Observation requires the functional use of vision, hearing and somatic sensations.
- Must be able to communicate effectively and sensitively with patients, and patient representatives (e.g. parents, guardians, family members, interpreters, etc.), as well as perceive nonverbal communications.
- Must be able to communicate effectively and efficiently with other members of the dental team and health care community to convey information essential for safe and effective care. Communication includes: speech, language, reading, writing and computer literacy.
H. Intellectual, Conceptual, Integrative and Quantitative Abilities
Must possess the ability to effectively solve problems.
- Must be able to measure, calculate, reason, analyze, integrate and synthesize information in a timely fashion. For example, the student must be able to synthesize knowledge and integrate the relevant aspects of a patient’s history and examination findings to develop an effective treatment plan.
- Must be able to comprehend three-dimensional relationships and to understand spatial relationships of anatomical structures.
I. Behavioral and Social Attributes
Must possess the psychological ability required for the full utilization of their intellectual abilities to include the exercise of good judgment:
- The prompt completion of all responsibilities inherent to diagnosis and care of clients.
- The ability to demonstrate attributes of empathy, integrity, concern for others.
- Interest, motivation, and development of mature, sensitive, empathetic, and effective relationships with patients.
- The ability to give, receive, and positively respond to constructive feedback.
- The ability to work within the context of a group or a team of peers.
- The ability to demonstrate intrapersonal coping skills.
- Must maintain a professional appearance and hygiene.
- Must have the ability to be timely and dependable.
- Must be able to tolerate physically and mentally taxing workloads and function effectively under stress.
- Must be able to adapt to a changing environment, display flexibility and learn to function in the face of uncertainties inherent in the clinical problems of patients.
- Must demonstrate professionally ethical behavior, including the ability to comply with rules, regulations, professional Code of Ethics and policies of the College and Clinical Affiliates.
J. Curriculum Requirements
- Must be able to successfully complete, with or without reasonable accommodation, all required essential components of the curriculum.
K. Tests and Evaluations
- Must be able to successfully complete both written and practical periodic examinations which are employed by the Dental Hygiene Program as an essential component of the curriculum to evaluate competence.
- Must demonstrate successful completion of these examinations as a condition for continued progress through the curriculum.
L. Clinical Assessments
- Must be able to successfully demonstrate, with or without reasonable accommodations, competence of clinical skills in both laboratory and clinical settings.