Table 6

Comments from students in Cohorts One and Two about their professional growth and development

ThemeComment
Change in understanding of the field and my role in the field
  • “Two years ago, I thought I was going to eventually go to dental school. I very quickly realized that what I really wanted to do was to become a DH educator, not a dentist. My teaching practicum really cemented this.” (Cohort One student)

  • “I’ve realized how broad a scope they [dental hygienists] have. We don’t just have to clean teeth. We can research, teach, advocate. . . . there are so many places we can go.” (Cohort Two student)

Preparation for real life
  • “I’ve been a clinical instructor for 6 years and I’ve seen myself grow and change. . . . I’m a lot more confident and a stronger educator than I was 2 years ago. I ask more questions of students, I do a lot more preparation, I use my critical thinking skills and ask my students to do so, and I actually like to read textbooks to stay on the top of my game. I really notice the change.” (Cohort One student)

  • “For me, the biggest thing that I’m coming out of the program with is that I can walk into a place and create a program. I’m not nervous about ‘where do I start?’ I now know how to do a program.” (Cohort Two student)

  • “Before the program, volunteering was simple and straightforward, but after my community project, I understand it’s a maze of issues, problems, and red tape.” (Cohort Two student)

Increased confidence
  • “The most important thing [about the ePortfolio] was seeing all our growth—maybe not directly getting a job.” (Cohort One student)

  • “My [teaching] practicum was one of my most enjoyable experiences because people were looking up to me. I felt confident and capable in a way I never had before.” (Cohort Two student)

  • “My capstone project was an ‘aha moment.’ I was able to take everything we’d learned from earlier courses, and it all came together and I knew how to do it all without having to ask because we’d learned it all.” (Cohort Two student)