Technical Standards

Intellectual | Motor Skills | Communications | Senses | Psychosocial | Environmental

These technical standards are required abilities for effective performance in Nomandale's dental hygiene program. The standards are compatible with the scope of practice as defined by the Minnesota State Board of Dentistry.

The examples show how a standard may be applied in entry-level dental hygiene education programs. The examples listed are for illustrative purposes only, and not intended to be a complete list of all tasks in an entry-level dental hygiene program.

Reasonable accommodations to meet standards may be available for otherwise program-qualified individuals with disabilities. Contact the college's Office For Students with Disabilities as soon as possible for more information if you think you may need accommodation for a disability.

Cognitive Perception

The ability to -

  • Perceive events realistically
  • To think clearly and rationally
  • To function appropriately in routine and stressful situations.

Students must be able to independently and accurately assess or contribute to the assessment of a client.

  • Identify changes in client health status.
  • Prioritize multiple dental activities in a variety of situations.
Critical Thinking
Careful thought, reasoned judgment. Differentiated from personal opinion and superficial memorization of facts by the ability to obtain and use an appropriate quantity and quality of data for a given situation. Critical thinkers question assumptions, routines and rituals, reconsider "known facts" when new information becomes available and develop new "rules" when old ones fail or become unavailable.

Critical thinking skills demanded of dental hygienists require the ability to learn and reason: to integrate, analyze and synthesize data concurrently. Students must be able to solve problems rapidly, consider alternatives and make a decision for managing or intervening in the care of a client.

  • Able to make effective decisions in the classroom and in the clinical sites.
  • Able to determine previous treatment and explain findings with a client.
  • Develop/contribute to dental care plans that accurately reflect client concerns.
  • Able to make decisions reflective of classroom learning in the clinical sites.
^ top  
Motor Skills
Motor Skills

Ambulatory capability sufficient to maintain a center of gravity when met with an opposing force as in supporting, and/or transferring a client.

  • Position clients
  • Reach, manipulate and operate equipment, instruments and supplies (e.g. syringes, sterile equipment, monitors)
  • Perform/use electronic documentation
  • Lift, carry, push and pull
  • Perform CPR
Organization Skills
  • Ability to plan routines, to think clearly and rationally, and to function appropriately in routine.
  • Able to manage time within a given time period.
  • Able to follow program policies and procedures set forth in lecture, lab and clinic.
  • Prioritize tasks in a clinic appointment routine (e.g. clinic set-up, clean up, infection control protocol, radiology protocol)
  • Able to attend lecture, lab and clinic on-time.
Activity Tolerance
  • Ability to tolerate lengthly periods of physical activity.
  • Able to tolerate repetitious and strenous work.
  • Move quickly and/or continuously.
  • Tolerate long periods of sitting.
^ top  
  • Communicate in English with other in oral and written form.
  • Able to communicate with clients and members of the healthcare team in order to plan and deliver safe care.
  • Utilize oral and written communication skills sufficiently for teaching/learning and for interaction with others.
  • Read, understand, write and speak English with clarity.
  • Use appropriate vocabulary.
  • Demonstrate good listening skills and focus on client while communicating.
  • Explain treatment procedures in a well-organized progression of ideas.
  • Aware of non-verbal messages
  • Use of appropriate non-verbal communication
  • Initiate and/or reinforce health teaching
  • Write clear, concise and accurate progress notes.
  • Read and understand the client's chart
  • Aware of voice volume, using attitudes and tone that are effective in communicating information
  • Document client responses
  • Clarify communications received.
Interpersonal Relationships

Interact with clients, families, staff, peers, instructors and small groups from a variety of social, emotional, cultural and intellectual backgrounds.

  • Establish rapport with clients, families and colleagues
  • Respond professionally to instructor or peer feedback, positive and negative
  • Respond in a professional/therapeutic manner to a variety of client expressions and behaviors.
^ top  

Auditory ability sufficient to hear normal conversation and/or assess health needs.

  • Ability to monitor alarms, emergency signals, auscultatory sounds (e.g. B/P, cries for help, telephone interactions, dictation)
  • Communicates with clients, families and colleagues.

Visual abilitiy sufficient for observation, assessment and performance of safe dental care.

  • Observes client responses
  • Discriminates color changes
  • Accurately reads measurement on client-related equipment
  • Read medication label
  • Read syringe accurately
  • Able to determine parts of the dental instrument as they are adapted to the oral cavity
  • Evaluate for a safe environment

Tactile ability sufficient for physical assessment, inclusive of size, shape, temperature and texture.

  • Performs palpation e.g. pulse
  • Performs functions of intra and extra oral exam, dental and periodontal examinations and/or those related to preventative and therapeutic interventions e.g. exploring, instrumentation.
^ top  
Psychosocial Behaviors

Possess the emotional health required for full use of intellectual abilities, the exercise of good judgment, and the prompt and safe completion of all responsibilities.

  • Demonstrate professional abilities of trust-worthiness, empathy, integrity, confidentiality
  • Able to work with groups of people and one-on-one
  • Able to be flexible and change when needed
  • Learn to function in the face of uncertainties and stressful situations.
^ top  
Environmental Adaptability

Ability to tolerate environmental stressors

  • Work with chemicals and detergents
  • Tolerate exposure to odors
  • Work in close proximity to others
  • Work in areas of potential physical violence
  • Work with infectious agents and blood-borne pathogens.
^ top