• The Impact of Mandatory Continuing Education on Maryland Dental Hygienists' Reporting Behaviors Regarding Child Abuse and Neglect

      Seibel, Susan Anna; Syme, Sheryl (2012)
      ABSTRACT Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine the impact of the Maryland State Board of Dental Examiners mandated CE requirement on Maryland dental hygienists' child abuse and neglect reporting practices. Methods: This research study was approved by the Institutional Review Board of the University of Maryland, Baltimore. A pilot survey conducted with a convenience sample of dental hygiene faculty members was administered prior to dissemination of the member survey to assess question clarity and ease of survey completion. Next, an initial online survey was administered to 1,641 Maryland licensed dental hygiene members of the Maryland Dental Hygienists' Association, and a follow-up survey two weeks later was used to capture additional respondents. A total of 229 participants responded. Data analysis included descriptive statistics and cross-tabbed reports. Results: Maryland dental hygienists who had taken the Mid-Atlantic P.A.N.D.A. CE course were more likely to accurately describe the signs and symptoms of child abuse and/or neglect, but were still unsure if the signs they were witnessing in a child were truly child abuse and/or neglect. The results were similar regardless of whether the course was taken online or in a face-to-face setting. Conclusion: Taking a mandated CE course concerning child abuse and/or neglect does make a difference in the reporting of suspected cases of child abuse and/or neglect. Maryland dental hygienists who took a mandated CE course were more able to describe the signs of child abuse and were more likely to report a suspected case of child abuse. This study supports the NDHRA objective: Clinical Dental Hygiene Care: Assess how dental hygienists are using emerging science throughout the dental hygiene process of care.