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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Motivators, experiences, and outcomes of dental hygiene baccalaureate degree education in Canada Kanji, Zulfikar


Background: There is a paucity of published literature pertaining to motivating influences, experiences, and outcomes of dental hygiene baccalaureate degree education. Since there are various dental hygiene entry-to-practice educational models in Canada, exploring baccalaureate education is becoming an increasingly important subject. Objective: To explore the motivating influences, experiences, and outcomes of dental hygiene degree-completion education in Canada, from the perspectives of diploma dental hygienists who had continued their education to the baccalaureate degree level. Methods: This study employed a qualitative phenomenological design, using a maximum variation purposeful sampling strategy. Data generation occurred with sixteen dental hygienists across Canada through individual semi-structured interviews. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim, and coded for data analysis, involving pattern recognition and thematic development. Results: Emerging themes regarding motivating influences included: expanding career opportunities in dental hygiene, personal development and a desire for knowledge, remaining competitive, status and recognition, access to graduate education, and third- person influences. Participants’ experiences in degree-completion programs included obtaining a broader education and being exposed to a wider scope of knowledge within and outside of dental hygiene theory. They also experienced a more independent learning environment, with a stronger focus on literature review and critical thinking, compared to their learning experiences in their previous dental hygiene diploma education. Themes which emerged about outcomes included changes in: self-perception, values, and knowledge base. Changes in self-perception were reflected by a reported increase in self-confidence and perceived credibility. Changes in values included a greater appreciation for lifelong learning. Advancements in knowledge strengthened the development of specific abilities which ultimately influenced the participants’ dental hygiene practice. These abilities included an increased ability to think critically, to make evidence-based decisions, and to provide more comprehensive care. Participants also commented on having more career opportunities available to them outside of the clinical practice setting. Conclusion: These results reveal important insights for those dental hygienists considering additional dental hygiene education. The findings also provide insights into the positive impact of earning a dental hygiene baccalaureate degree on oneself and one’s dental hygiene practice.

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