- Technical Standards for Students in the College of Dentistry
- Technical Standards for Dental Hygiene Students
The goal of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, College of Dentistry
is to prepare students for the practice of the professions of dentistry or dental
hygiene. This includes undergraduate, professional or graduate education, where applicable.
Graduate dental hygiene education requires that the accumulation of scientific knowledge
be accompanied by the simultaneous acquisition of essential skills, functions and
professional attitudes and behavior. The faculty of the College of Dentistry have a responsibility to graduate the best possible practitioners and graduate students;
therefore, admission to educational programs in the College is offered only to those
who present the highest qualifications for education and training in the art and science
of the respective health professions.
Applicants to programs of the College must possess the following general qualities: critical thinking, sound judgment, emotional stability and maturity, empathy, physical and mental stamina, and the ability to learn and function in a wide variety of didactic and clinical settings. Graduates of the College must have the minimal skills, essential functions and knowledge to function in a broad variety of clinical settings, while rendering a wide spectrum of healthcare services.
The faculty of the College of Dentistry have a responsibility for the welfare of the patients treated or otherwise affected by students enrolled in the College as well as for the educational welfare of its students relative to the educational programs of the College. In order to fulfill this responsibility the Committees on Admissions for the various professional programs of the College maintain that certain minimal technical standards must be present in applicants to the various educational programs of the College. Candidates for degree programs in the college must have the following essentials: motor skills; sensory/observational skills; communication skills; intellectual-conceptual, integrative, and quantitative abilities; and behavioral/social skills and professionalism.
The Committees on Admissions, in accordance with Section 504 of the 1973 Vocational Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act (PL101-336) have established the aforementioned essential functions of students in the educational programs offered by the College of Dentistry.
These Committees on Admissions will consider for admission applicants who demonstrate the ability to perform, or to learn to perform, the essential skills listed in this document. The College must ensure that patients are not placed in jeopardy by students with impaired intellectual, physical or emotional functions. Students will be judged not only on their scholastic accomplishments, but also on their physical and emotional capacities to meet the full requirements of the College's curricula and to graduate as skilled and effective practitioners.
The essential abilities listed in this document can be accomplished through direct student response, the use of prosthetic or orthotic devices, or through personal assistance, e.g., readers, signers, note-takers. The responsibility for the purchase of prosthetic or orthotic devices serving a student in meeting the abilities noted remains with the student and/or agency supporting the student. The College will assist with this accomplishment, as required by law and institutional policy.
Upon admission, a student who discloses a properly certified disability will receive reasonable accommodation but must be able to perform the essential functions of the curriculum and meet the standards described herein for the program in which the student is enrolled. Possible accommodations include opportunities for individual and group counseling, peer counseling, linkages with community services, faculty advisory committees whose members are aware of disabled students and their needs, career counseling, assistance with job searches and interview skills, and extended test taking time, if and when appropriate. Students seeking accommodations should initiate their request in the Office of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, College of Dentistry, S107, Dunn Dental Building, 875 Union Avenue or the Office of Students with Disabilities, Student Academic Support Services at 8 S. Dunlap, Room BB9, General Education Building.
In addition to the general standards described above, each professional program requires additional specific standards.
Revised: February 2004
Back to Top
Technical Standards for Dental Hygiene Students
ADDITIONAL SPECIFIC TECHNICAL STANDARDS FOR DENTAL HYGIENE STUDENTS
The practice of dental hygiene is composed of skills in communication, patient management,
time management, cognitive assimilation, and fine motor skills. Skills in each of
these areas are required on a daily basis.
Time management skills are needed both in the educational and clinical practice phases as the practitioner is presented with a variety of deadlines and time critical tasks. Often, more than one task competes for a given block of time and the prospective student is expected to be able to prioritize the tasks and have them completed in a timely fashion. Functioning under time and patient management constraints is often encountered. Additionally, the student will be expected to comply with a variety of clinical and workplace rules and regulations related to successful and safe clinical practice. More specific skill requirements follow.
Back to Top
The practice of clinical dental hygiene mandates that the practitioner have extremely
fine motor control with correspondingly high hand-eye coordination. The prospective
student is expected to have binocular vision with discrimination/perception to 1.0
mm or better. Visual acuity should be corrected to 20/40 or better with the ability
to accommodate at a distance of 10" or less. Color vision deficiencies should be limited
to a single color. As a part of visual/perceptual coordination, the student must be
able to observe laboratory demonstrations and patient conditions as a part of clinical
Back to Top
Should have correctable hearing in at least one ear and be able to develop reasonable
skills of percussion and auscultation. Sensory and motor innervation of the hand and
arm muscles should be intact and functioning normally as fine motor and tactile skills
are an essential component of this profession.
Back to Top
Candidates for admission must have sufficient motor function to elicit information
from a patient by palpation, auscultation, percussion, and other diagnostic modalities.
Candidates must also be able to perform the motor movement skills necessary to render
clinical dental hygiene treatment, and have the physical strength to move themselves
(by walker, cane or crutches as necessary) to a position enabling them to provide
dental care. Additionally, the candidate must possess the strength to assist a patient
in transferring themselves to and from a dental chair, and whenever necessary perform
cardiopulmonary resuscitation for an extended period of time. Fine motor skills are
expected of every candidate. Providing dental hygiene care requires both gross and
fine motor control. The candidate should have full manual dexterity including the
functioning of both arms, both wrists, both hands, and all fingers. Necessary clinical
skills involve procedures requiring (but not limited to) grasping, fingering, pinching,
pushing, pulling, holding, extending, and rotation.
Back to Top
Candidates must have the ability to measure, assess, calculate, reason, analyze, and
synthesize data. Problem solving and diagnosis (which includes obtaining, interpreting,
and documenting information) are critical and essential skills. The ability to understand
and comprehend three dimensional relationships is necessary.
Back to Top
The student is expected to be able to communicate clearly in English at a level of
understanding appropriate to the ability of an individual patient to understand. This
communication ability is expected both in the oral and written form. The clinical
practice of dental hygiene requires the ability to accurately transfer gathered data
into a patient record. Included in this area is therapeutic communication in which
a candidate is expected to have (or be able to develop) skill in coaching, facilitating,
Back to Top
Direct patient contact often involves stressors that must be dealt with rationally.
High levels of mental and emotional stability are required on a daily basis. The student
must be able to maintain a professional attitude and appearance. Must be able to deal
with stress produced by course load; clinical requirements, and patient attitude;
must have the ability to adapt to change and be able to function and focus in an environment
with multiple extraneous stimuli.
Back to Top
College of Dentistry
5th Floor North
875 Union Ave.
Memphis, TN 38163