Department of Dental Hygiene, College of Health and Medical Science, Howon University1
Objectives: The study investigated health professionals working in the metropolitan area and Jeolla-bukdo, South Korea, from April 30 to May 17, 2017 to understand their views on the issue of including dental hygienists in the scope of medical personnel of South Korea. Methods: A total of 270 surveys were analyzed in this study. The survey consists of 5 questions on general issues; 10 on the awareness of present work of dental hygienist; and 1 on opposition or approval about including dental hygienist in medical personnel. The collected data were analyzed using SPSS for Windows 18.0, as well as frequency analysis, cross analysis and logistic regression analysis. Statistical significance level (α) is 0.05. Results: 1. Broken down by gender, male subjects showed more oppositions against including dental hygienists in the category of medical personnel while female subjects showed more favorable opinions (p<0.05). In terms of academic background, those who had graduated from graduate school or higher showed a higher propensity for opposition while those who had graduated from a 3-year college showed a higher tendency for approval on the idea (p<0.05), In terms of occupational type, health professionals showed more opposing views whereas medical technologists showed more approvals than others (p<0.001). 2. With respect to the awareness of work specialty and proficiency of dental hygienist according to general characteristics, the higher the age, the higher the awareness level was. In terms of the occupational type, medical technologists were found to have higher awareness level than health professionals (p<0.001). 3. With respect to the relationship between general characteristics and view on including dental hygienists in medical personnel, the occupational type of health professional was found to have 6.33 times more oppositions than medical technologists. When the awareness level on proficiency of dental hygienist was low, opposition was 6.52 times more frequent (p<0.05). Conclusions: Based on the findings above, the inclusion of dental hygienists in medical personnel seems necessary in properly establishing the specialty and role of dental hygienist in the dentist medical environment of the country in order to enhance national oral health related preventive dental service and expand the demand. To this end, it is necessary to provide nationwide promotion, work to change the awareness of health professionals in other occupational types, and facilitate public promotion for legal ground establishment.
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