The Millennial Student and Attaining Competency

Neveu, Kathleen, Kristina Okolisan-Mulligan, and Kathi Shepherd

It is not uncommon to experience students having difficulty attaining clinical competency; in particular, the millennial student. In Fall 2006 the University of Detroit Mercy Dental Hygiene Program designed a program to assist students in attaining clinical competency. The objectives were to: 1) provide a mechanism to closely monitor individual student competency of skills as outlined by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA); 2) incorporate a formal means of designing remedial experiences aimed at the achievement of clinical competency; 3) facilitate unmet needs of students that often interfere with the attainment of clinical competency and 4) provide an additional method for preparing students to be successful on board examinations. A one day a week part- time faculty position (clinical competency advisor) was created for the sole purpose of achieving the program objectives listed. All students (n=22) were required to meet with the competency advisor after completing one term of clinical experiences. A student self evaluation instrument was designed as the tool for monitoring progress toward achievement of CODA specified competencies. Both the student and competency advisor formally reviewed performance on process evaluations and clinical competency examinations, as well as daily patient care formative evaluations tracked by a Blackboard clinical course website. Post competency experiences were designed for those attaining competency prior to graduation while remedial experiences were implemented for those identified as needing additional individualized instruction. All students passed the clinical NERB examination on their first attempt, 100% students reported either very well prepared or prepared for all competencies on a graduation exit competency survey, and numerous students vocalized their gratitude for the competency program and advisor during exit interviews.