After reading the letter, "Well Trained in Alabama," I was frustrated by the writer`s attitude regarding preceptorship. Ms. Nelson and Ms. Bates feel the quality of training they receive from their employer is comparable to the formal education trained hygienists receive. Consequently, they feel the quality of care is the same.
Mrs. Weiner, in her response, is absolutely correct. "There is a vast difference in the quality of education and training that formally trained hygienists receive compared to the on-the-job training received from employers. To begin with, a dentist is not going to teach about head and neck anatomy, pathology, histology, pharmacology, and all the other medical related courses that formally educated hygienists are required to learn."
Let`s be realistic. Does a competent, busy, and qualified dentist have the time to properly teach dental hygiene to a person doing a preceptorship in a dental office? The answer is no! They will be taught the manual skills of "let`s scrape teeth" and that`s all. Dental hygiene will soon become a trade, not a profession with this method of teaching.
With the attitude of people like Ms. Nelson and Ms. Bates concerning preceptorship, why don`t we get rid of all professions such as nursing, radiology, physical therapy, and many more. Go strictly to on-the-job training and do away with formal training. Preceptorship is definitely an injustice to the dental hygiene profession and the health and welfare of the general public.
For the comment that we have big egos, you`re right! We are very proud of our profession and the education that we received to become highly trained professionals providing quality care to our patients.
Finally, Ms. Nelson and Ms. Bates, your research regarding what is taught in hygiene courses is lacking. Formally educated hygienists are taught four-handed dentistry so we also can fill in anywhere in the office. We work as a team with the general dentists, assistants, front office personnel, and referring periodontists because we have the extensive training to properly interface with each of these people.
Lynette P. Shearouse