Ontario Dental Hygienists’ Perceptions of the Effectiveness of Professional Development
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AbstractThe importance of maintaining professional competency through professional development as a quality assurance requirement has been an area of interest in healthcare disciplines, including dental hygiene. With the goal of continuing competence in mind, and as a corollary of that, ensuring public safety and satisfaction, it was important to understand the effectiveness of professional development from the practitioners’ perspective. This study investigated the experiences of dental hygienists in Ontario with mandatory professional development and subsequent impacts that included resultant changes in professional practice; motivators for engagement; perceptions of effectiveness; perceptions of capabilities to transfer skills into practice; along with needs, preferences, and perceived barriers. The literature that informed this study included quality assurance, professional development models, adult learning principles, motivation and learning concepts, and social cognitive theory. This mixed methods study used an explanatory sequential design in which 476 participants completed online questionnaire to gain information regarding trends in engagement in professional development; and in a second phase, 30 participants were interviewed to include their perceptions of the effectiveness of professional development; levels of self-efficacy in applying new knowledge into the process of adopting new skills into practice; and participants’ needs, preferences, and motivations for seeking out professional development, along with any associated barriers they encountered. Analysis of both quantitative and qualitative data sets resulted in the emergence of five themes: (a) the multifaceted nature of inquiry, (b) the nature of dental hygiene knowledge, (c) collaboration, (d) unintentional effects of mandated PD, and (e) enhancing dental hygiene knowledge. This study underscored the importance of collaboration and informal professional development activities (such as peer coaching) through the stages of knowledge creation, mobilization, contextualization, and the process of transferring new skills into practice. Based on the results of this study, The Model for Differentiated Professional Development for Enhancing Dental Hygiene Knowledge was developed to address the unique learning needs for dental hygienists during the phases of their careers, the need for collaboration and informal professional development activities, and to address barriers to accessing professional development. This study will be of interest to healthcare regulatory bodies, professional associations, professional development providers, and dental hygienists.
CitationEckenswiller, S. (2015). Ontario Dental Hygienists’ Perceptions of the Effectiveness of Professional Development (Unpublished doctoral thesis). University of Calgary, Calgary, AB. doi:10.11575/PRISM/27188
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