The third program learning outcome adopted from the national competencies for an entry-to-practice dental hygienist is the critical thinker, highlighted below.
According to the a�?Entry-To-Practice Competencies and Standards for Canadian Dental Hygienists January 2010a��, the dental hygienist as a critical thinker includes the following: a�?A critical thinker is a�?habitually inquisitive, well-informed, trustful of reason, open-minded, flexible, fair-minded in evaluation, honest in facing personal biases, prudent in making judgments, willing to reconsider, clear about issues, orderly in complex matters, diligent in seeking relevant information, reasonable in the selection of criteria, focused in inquiry, and persistent in seeking results which are as precise as the subject and the circumstances of inquiry permit.a�?
As a result, some examples of abilities that dental hygiene students are expected to demonstrate as critical thinkers are as follows: 1. Conduct a literature search about tongue piercing using Pubmed. Search the internet for credible sites related to infection control guidelines. 2. A�Make decisions about supporting water fluoridation based on the evidence related to its safety and efficacy. Discuss clientsa�� fears about breastfeeding leading to increased caries rates for their children.
Another way to think of a critical thinker is someone who a�?connects the dotsa��, for both the client and him/herself, contributing to personal growth.