Reentry: manpower issues related to nonpracticing dental hygienists

J Dent Hyg. 1990 Jun;64(5):226-34.


At the present time there is concern about the current and projected dental hygiene manpower situation. As applicant pools diminish and dental hygiene schools close, the need to investigate retention and reentry issues for hygienists increases. The purpose of this study was to determine (1) the number of unemployed dental hygienists who could be enticed to reenter the workforce, (2) the reasons why these dental hygienists left their profession, and (3) the factors that could facilitate their reentry into dental hygiene. A random sample of 10,249 licensed dental hygienists in 27 states was surveyed. Only nonpracticing dental hygienists completed the questionnaire; practicing dental hygienists returned the questionnaire unanswered. A 65% response rate was established. Of those dental hygienists returning questionnaires, 79% (N = 4,665) were currently practicing and 21% (N = 1,227) were not practicing. Of those hygienists who were not practicing, 63% (N = 773) stated intentions of returning to the work force if circumstances change. Within the unemployed sample, a subsample was created consisting of nonpracticing hygienists who have been out of the work force for less than eight years but intend to return to dental hygiene. Data were analyzed using frequency distribution, chi-square analyses, and factor analyses. Results showed five major reasons cited for leaving dental hygiene: (1) family responsibilities, (2) boredom, (3) fear of infectious disease, (4) lack of benefits, and (5) lack of adequate salary.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Dental Hygienists / supply & distribution*
  • Dental Prophylaxis*
  • Employment
  • Humans
  • Personnel Turnover
  • Preventive Dentistry*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Workforce