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The ethics of live patient use in dental hygiene clinical licensure examinations: a national survey



The ethics of live patient use in dental hygiene clinical licensure examinations: a national survey



Journal of Dental Education 76(6): 667-681



A national survey of dental hygienists was conducted to explore ethical issues arising from the use of live patients for dental hygiene clinical licensure examinations. Data were collected regarding respondents' demographics, additional costs they incurred associated with their examination beyond the examination fees, delays in patients' treatment resulting from the examination, unethical candidate and/or patient behaviors they experienced, and provisions they made for patients' follow-up care related to the examination. Five hundred surveys were mailed to dental hygienists from two states in each of the five licensure examination regions. The response rate was 40.6 percent (n=203). Descriptive statistics were used to analyze the data. The results showed that the majority of the respondents spent additional money on examination-related expenses (69.2 percent). Sixty-one percent of the respondents reported paying their patients; however, only 50.5 percent felt such a practice was acceptable. More than half (53.1 percent) reported believing it was appropriate to delay treatment in order to have a patient participate in the examination, although only 16.4 percent reported actually delaying treatment. Informed consent was said to be obtained by 94.9 percent of the respondents. The majority (86.6 percent) said they referred patients for follow-up dental hygiene care. When asked if they felt the examination was an accurate assessment of their clinical skills, 78.7 percent of the respondents agreed that it was.

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Accession: 056334144

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PMID: 22659695


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