The mentoring experiences and career satisfaction of dental hygiene program directors

J Dent Hyg. Spring 2004;78(2):331-9.


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to describe the relationship between career satisfaction and length of the mentoring experiences of dental hygiene directors.

Methods: Directors were asked a series of questions (74 items) that described their career satisfaction and mentoring experiences during three stages of their lives professional student, faculty member, and director. The extent of career satisfaction was measured on a five point Likert-type scale. The target population consisted of a convenience sample of 235 directors with an active Internet mail address (n = 142). An Internet mail questionnaire was sent to these directors. The data sample consisted of 72 usable responses (51%). The field test was conducted to test for both content and face validity. Cronbach's Alpha was used as a measure of internal consistency and an acceptable alpha was determined to be 0.60. Data were downloaded from the WEB and manually entered into SPSS 9.

Results: Results indicated that career satisfaction was positively associated with length of the mentor relationship. The relationship between the total length of mentoring received as a student, faculty member, and director and the perceived level of career satisfaction had a moderate positive association (r = 0.459). The grand means for career satisfaction and length of mentoring in years, were 3.78 (sd = 0.5615, n = 47) and 20.46 (sd = 21.48, n = 45), respectively.

Conclusion: As the length of the mentor experience increased, so did the level of career satisfaction, albeit a moderate increase. To enhance career satisfaction, mentoring should be initiated in dental hygiene graduate programs, particularly for students who aspire to become directors.

MeSH terms

  • Administrative Personnel*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Dental Hygienists / education*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Job Satisfaction*
  • Leadership
  • Male
  • Marital Status
  • Mentors*
  • Middle Aged
  • Schools, Health Occupations / organization & administration
  • Surveys and Questionnaires