Dental hygiene students' part-time jobs in dental practices in the Netherlands


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Abstract

Objective:Many students have paid employment while studying. In the Netherlands, the Individual Health Care Professions Act (IHCP Act) allows dental hygiene students to work under certain conditions in a dental practice. The aim of the study was to determine how many dental hygiene students have part-time job employment in dental practice and which professional tasks they carry out. We also asked the dental hygiene students their opinion of the IHCP Act.Methods:All the enrolled dental hygiene students (n = 341) at a School of Health in the Netherlands received a questionnaire by email.Results:The response was 52% (176 students). Of the responding students, 75% had paid employment in addition to their study. A proportion of the students (35%) worked in a dental practice. The median number of hours worked per week was eight. Study year, age and prior education were positively related to working part-time in dental practice. Activities frequently performed were giving oral hygiene instruction, fluoride applications, scaling and root planning, providing chair side assistance and giving local anaesthesia. Although the self-reported knowledge about the IHCP Act was high, almost half of the students expressed the need for more detailed legal information.Conclusions:Many dental hygiene students work in a dental practice, taking over a number of tasks usually performed by the dentist. More information in the dental hygiene curriculum about the requirements of the IHCP Act seems desirable.

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