A big part of quality assurance and job performance for dental hygienists involves professional development activities. Benefits of continuing education include increased job satisfaction, employment opportunities, and quality of care for clients. In Canada, dental hygienists must be registered or licensed by the proper provincial or territorial regulatory authorities.
Within Ontario, the College of Dental Hygienists of Ontario (CDHO) regulates the practice of dental hygiene. Any professional development activities chosen must meet the requirements set out by the CDHO. Continuing education may be undertaken by private entities as well as those offered by the Canadian Dental Hygienists Association (CDHA) and the College of Dental Hygienists of Ontario.
The field of dentistry is always evolving and advancing, and professionals who take advantage of continuing education do themselves, their clients, and their careers a huge favour by staying on top of these changes and trends. Read on to learn some of the ways dental hygienists can continue education.
1. Workshops and Conferences
Professional associations host conferences and workshops on an annual or bi-annual basis and the CDHA offers a biennial conference on odd years. On even years, the CDHA has a leadership summit and professional development session. This session is held along with the Annual General Meeting. In-person events may also be held by commercial organizations like rdhu.
Conferences and events in-person give great opportunities for people with flexibility to attend. All large meetings have online registration and websites you can visit to learn more.
2. Online Courses
Members of the CDHA have access to exclusive online webinars, courses, and more. Many of the different provincial associations for dental hygienists also offer similar courses for their members. Commercial and industry organizations offer online learning options and some colleges and universities offer distance, on-campus, and online education opportunities.
Dental product companies like Crest and Colgate offer easily accessible courses you can do online. These are usually recognized courses and most are offered for free.
Provinces within Canada all have different rules about the types of continuing education activities that dental hygienists may use towards fulfilling competency requirements, like advanced study, educations courses, convention attendance, study of professional journals, professional meetings, and more, and how credit is determined for each activity. Some activities are calculated by the hour, by goals, or by activity, for example.
3. Keep Track
Dental hygienists should keep careful records of all professional development activities, including transcripts, receipts, and certificates of completion. Yearly records should be kept, and the proof of completion along with a copy of the documents you send to the regulatory authority, along with proof of receipt from the regulatory authority, should all be kept together.
4. Study Continuing Education Resources
There are many resources where you can take an online course, attend a seminar in person or online, or access publications. Here are just a few.
Genesis Continuing Dental Education has a mission to offer high quality and contemporary dental hygiene continuing education to all professionals in the dental field. Created in 2017, Genesis delivers high-quality speakers, the latest technology, and addresses the needs of the entire dental professional community.
Dental Care is sponsored by Crest and Oral-B, and is a comprehensive resource for all dental professionals. You can use this resource to download patient education materials, access a library to use while in school, and take advantage of a huge array of continuing education resources.
Philips Learning Connection, the company known for healthcare and electronics tools, offers free continuing education opportunities. Dental assistants, hygienists, and dentists will all find on-demand modules that are free to access.