Writing Plan Phases
Collecting Baseline Data
First Edition Writing Plan
Second Edition Writing Plan
Third Edition Writing Plan
  • phase completed
  • phase in-progress

Dental Hygiene is an undergraduate program within the School of Dentistry and home to 13 faculty and 64 undergraduate students. The accelerated program is integrated with dental and dental therapy curricula and allows students to graduate with their Bachelor of Science degree in three years. The program's goals include preparing highly qualified dental hygiene healthcare professionals who are culturally competent and active in leadership roles in oral health promotion in their communities. A dental hygienist with a bachelor's degree is prepared to assume roles in many different healthcare environments such as general and specialty practices, public schools, government agencies, community health clinics, insurance companies, dental hygiene educational programs, extended care facilities, and in the health products industry.

Dental Hygiene Writing Plan

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Writing in Dental Hygiene

The Dental Hygiene faculty generated the following list in response to the question, “What characterizes academic and professional communication in this discipline?"

Effective writing in dental hygiene is organized and follows both a clear process of recording data, analysis, and reaching conclusions. It should provide evidence of a logical sequence of ideas, follow a step-by-step process in casework, and draw conclusions based on the best available data. In clinical contexts, this implies the creation of detailed SOAP notes (subjective observational data and narrative, objective laboratory, measurement and research data, assessment based on those data leading to a diagnosis, and a plan to treat underlying conditions, mitigate symptoms, and to refer to dental specialists as is appropriate). Such SOAP notes require both depth and specificity and should accurately describe the hygienist's interaction with the patient. In research contexts, the writing should follow standards of effective and thorough research and information seeking, should synthesize and draw conclusions from the best available evidence, and should be documented precisely using the National Library of Medicine (NLM) documentation. In each case, writers should tell a story with data and provide evidence of critical thinking.

Writing in dental hygiene is audience sensitive and requires attention to tone and detail. Writing to other healthcare professionals should be accurate, detailed, and concise and able to stand up to legal scrutiny. Writing intended for patients should be complete and medically accurate, but also accessible to a lay audience. Writing in dental hygiene often requires working with medical informatics tools and technologies, and students should use these technologies effectively and completely. Writing in all cases should be substantially free of errors in grammar, punctuation, and spelling.

Finally, reflective writing is an important component of dental hygiene pedagogy. Students should accurately describe their experiences, consider them in light of best practices, and use reflection to propel ongoing professional development and improvement.

Writing Abilities Expected of Dental Hygiene Majors with Grading Criteria

The Dental Hygiene faculty generated the following list in response to the question, “With which writing abilities should students in this unit’s major(s) graduate?”

Record and interpret systemic and oral health data and psycho/social factors to identify a patient's oral health status.

Demonstrated by:

  • The text includes medical/dental history, social determinants of health, and/or barriers.

Establish an evidence-base for clinical care writing or written research papers.

Demonstrated by:

  • The text includes subjective, objective, assessment, and plan details.
  • The text identifies problem/population, intervention, comparison, and outcome (PICO).
  • The text uses description of observations and/or summary of research to guide conclusions and interventions.

Adapt relevant and effective strategies to gain information and resources.

Demonstrated by:

  • The text includes appropriate National Library of Medicine (NLM) format.
  • Process Criterion: Use of professional and technical resources, PubMed/other search tools, and citation manager.

Accurately document findings, data, and observations.

Demonstrated by:

  • SOAP notes are thorough, relevant, and reflect actual/significant findings and care provided.
  • In Axium or other electronic records, findings, data, and observations are recorded in appropriate tabs and fields.
  • The text includes figures and tables selected and designed to illustrate data and support conclusions.
  • The text incorporates a documentation format appropriate to audience and purpose.

Appraise literature and/or clinical information for purposes of summary and analysis.

Demonstrated by:

  • The text includes research that is the most current and relevant to the problem or question.
  • The text summarizes relevant points, details, and reaches appropriate conclusions.

Distinguish between strong and weak sources.

Demonstrated by:

  • The text is supported by using the levels of evidence pyramid and includes the most relevant available resources.
  • Process Criterion: Applies evidence-based research pyramid criteria to evaluate article quality.
  • Process Criterion: Applies appraisal tools to analyze and criticize published research.

Apply and create a conventional order of concepts and information.

Demonstrated by:

  • The text is organized in a manner that is consistent with professional standards.
  • The text follows a logical order to draw conclusions and/or to persuade the audience.
  • The text includes transitional sentences, subheadings, and other features to increase comprehension as needed.

Connect/synthesize information to draw sound, evidence-based conclusions.

Demonstrated by:

  • The text includes synthesis, summary, and contrast statements.
  • The text synthesizes selected literature to draw sound conclusions.
  • The text identifies gaps in published research.
  • The text demonstrates critical thinking through sufficient depth of the topic.
  • Process Criterion: Involve patient in treatment plan based in Evidence Based Dentistry (patient preferences, evidence, and provider scope of practice).

Write efficiently using language reflecting the audience and purpose of communication.

Demonstrated by:

  • The text is concise.
  • The text includes conventional grammar and usage.
  • The text includes professional terminology.
  • The text is in third person (professional papers).
  • The text is in first person (reflection papers, clinical notes).
  • The text employs accepted dental terminology, abbreviations, and acronyms.
  • The text avoids jargon and slang.
  • The text lists full term initially, then followed by acronym.
  • The text includes terminology sensitive to audience and purpose.

Engage in self-assessment, reflect on outcomes, and apply those reflections to professional development and future practice.

Demonstrated by:

  • The text describes events using specific examples and situational features to support statements and draw conclusions.
  • In clinical self-assessments, accounts for tasks and roles, what one has learned, how one’s thinking has changed over time, and where skills can be improved.
  • The text is accurate, balanced, and realistic in its assessment; avoids platitudes, overbroad generalizations, or blanket statements.

Highlights from the Writing Plan

In their third-edition Writing Plan, faculty members continue to work with common rubrics and calibrate their assessments to facilitate learning transfer. Using an electronic peer review platform, faculty in several courses will use peer feedback assignments in courses at all levels of the curriculum and assess the effect of sequential peer response. The department will also consolidate writing resources in a student facing website.