JOURNAL ARTICLE

Assessment of tobacco dependence curricula in Italian dental hygiene schools

Giuseppe Pizzo, Joan M Davis, Maria E Licata, Giovanna Giuliana
Journal of Dental Education 2013, 77 (8): 1072-8
23929577
The aim of this study was to assess the level of tobacco dependence education offered by Italian dental hygiene programs. A fifty-question survey was mailed to the thirty-one active public and private dental hygiene programs in Italy during the 2008-09 academic year. The survey assessed faculty confidence in teaching tobacco treatment, which courses contained tobacco dependence content, the number of minutes spent on specific content areas, and the level of clinical competence that dental hygiene graduates should be able to demonstrate. Surveys were returned by sixteen programs for a response rate of 52 percent. Respondents indicated tobacco dependence education was included in clinic or clinic seminar (56 percent), periodontics (44 percent), oral pathology (31 percent), and prevention (19 percent). All programs reported including the effects of tobacco on general and oral diseases in courses. However, more in-depth topics received less curriculum time; these included tobacco treatment strategies (63 percent) and discussion of cessation medications (31 percent). Interestingly, 62 percent of the respondents indicated they expected dental hygiene graduates to demonstrate a tobacco treatment competency level of a moderate intervention or higher (counseling, discussion of medications, follow-up) rather than a brief intervention in which patients are advised to quit then referred to a quitline. The results of this study indicated that Italian dental hygiene students are not currently receiving adequate instruction in tobacco treatment techniques nor are they being adequately assessed. This unique overview of Italian dental hygiene tobacco dependence education provides a basis for further discussion towards a national competency-based curriculum.

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