There never seem to be enough hours in the day to accomplish the many tasks of the dental hygienist. Today’s hygienists wear many hats, including conducting infection control and safety training for the dental staff. Although the dentist may divide the duties, such as infection control, OSHA training (for example, Bloodborne Pathogens Standard and Hazardous Communication Standard), radiation health & safety, and other tasks among the hygienists and assistants, it is often the hygienists who have the responsibility of actually providing the training to the staff.
The challenges of a fast-paced dental practice may leave the infection control coordinator (IFC) wondering how he/she will find time for the annual staff training session, training new hires, revising the office’s standard operating procedures manual, reviewing and revising the Bloodborne Pathogens Exposure Control Plan, managing exposure incidents, monitoring staff for compliance, and providing patient care. It’s no wonder we’re exhausted just thinking about what needs doing, and the day hasn’t even begun. The “to do” list keeps growing despite the fact that the clock indicates we’ve reached the end of another workday. The search for infection control training materials and information will have to wait for another day.Click here to view tables...
Hygienists may ask, “Does anyone have a resource guide that would make our tasks easier? Where do we go, how do we do a search, is there a way to know if the information is accurate? Can someone please help us?”
There is good news to report! Educators and consultants attended a pre-conference session at last year’s OSAP Symposium that provided the most reliable infection control and safety resources. This information was so valuable to the attendees that OSAP wanted to share the wealth with those on the front line. We know how time consuming it can be to search for the most accurate and dependable information. We also recognize that free time is precious to practicing dental hygienists.
OSAP divides the trustworthy Web sites into government agencies, organizations, professional journals, and search engines. Certainly there are other trustworthy agencies and organizations, but we have found these to be among the top infection control resources. (Table 1)
Being armed with a list of good resources is important, but do you have the right information in your training materials? The first step is to determine topics, objectives, and what you hope to accomplish in the staff training session. Second, decide what format you will use (e.g., PowerPoint, DVD, CD-ROM, Video Tape, Interactive Training Kits). Third, know the approximate time available for the training session in order to determine the amount of materials. With this information you can narrow your search for the right training materials and information.
In your quest for knowledge and information, OSAP can offer a head start. There is a great deal of reliable infection control resources and information available; it’s just a matter of knowing how to access it. When conducting searches on the Internet, keep the search simple. For example, in the search engine type phrases such as dental infection control guidelines, dental unit waterlines, hand hygiene guidelines, free dental images, infectious diseases, etc.
If you decide to use the information you locate, know what the copyright issues, requirements, and “use rights” are. Always read the copyright agreement to avoid copyright violations. As a rule, copyright laws do not apply to materials obtained through the federal government and paid for with tax dollars. But the majority of materials posted on the Internet are copyright protected, and you may have to obtain permission from the author/copyright holder to reproduce materials. When using the materials for educational purposes, some copyright agreements limit your use of images to non-commercial (personal) use, research, or educational projects.
Finally, knowledge is power and power over diseases is never far from the minds of infection control coordinators/educators, as we continue to strive for a safe and healthy dental health care environment for staff and patients. After all, our ultimate goal should be to provide safe dental care to people everywhere.
Tables 2-11 contain Web site addresses for the top infection control trainer resources. These sites should provide valuable materials and information to help meet training needs. OSAP
Cheryl Wolf, CDA, BS, serves as a faculty member to the Dental Assisting and Dental Hygiene Programs at Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte, NC. Cheryl is a national speaker, serves on the Organization for Safety and Asepsis Procedures (OSAP) Board of Directors, and serves on the Dental Assisting National Board’s (DANB) Infection Control Exam review committee.
Jean M. Wolff, RDH, MSEd, serves as the Infection Control Manager at the Community College of Southern Nevada (CCSN) in Las Vegas, Nevada. She earned an Associate in Arts degree from Southern Illinois University, Bachelor of Science from Northwestern University Dental School and a Masters degree in Education from Northwestern University. Jean has been involved in infection control for over 20 years and holds a professorship at CCSN. Her responsibilities include infection control policy making, training, and management of exposures to bloodborne pathogens covering all healthcare program, students and employees.