Dental hygiene educators' knowledge and implementation of objective structured clinical examination in United States dental hygiene programs

J Dent Educ. 2023 Jan;87(1):25-33. doi: 10.1002/jdd.13087. Epub 2022 Sep 2.


Purpose: In 2021, the American Dental Association (ADA) announced the intention to develop a standardized dental hygiene licensure objective structured clinical examination (DHLOSCE). The purpose of this study was to measure the United States (US) dental hygiene (DH) educators' foundational knowledge of OSCE development and delivery in light of the impending development of the DHLOSCE by the ADA's Testing Services.

Methods: The study was determined to be exempt from Institutional Review Board oversight. A 21-question survey was developed, pilot tested, and electronically disseminated through Qualtrics. The survey recruitment was emailed to the directors of all entry-level DH education programs in the US (n = 328), asking them to participate in the survey and to forward it to the clinical faculty in their institutions. Descriptive and inferential statistics were utilized to analyze the data.

Results: There were 143 study participants, for a completion rate of 45%. Over two-thirds of respondents (64%) were unaware of the plans to develop the DHLOSCE, while 13% reported utilizing OSCEs to meet accreditation standards. Only 3% reported receiving a formal education in OSCE development compared to 29% who learned through a colleague or peer. Nearly half reported a lack of faculty experience as a barrier to OSCE implementation. Over three-quarters, 76% reported a lack of OCSE development committees within their program and only 14% had experience developing an OSCE station.

Conclusion: The study results suggest an urgent need for the development of OSCE training resources specific to DH education, as programs across the US prepare for the impending DHLOSCE.

Keywords: clinical competence; clinical evaluations; dental hygiene education; live patient examinations; objective structured clinical examinations.

MeSH terms

  • Accreditation
  • Dental Hygienists* / education
  • Faculty
  • Humans
  • Licensure
  • Oral Hygiene*
  • United States