J Educ Eval Health Prof.  2017;14:21. 10.3352/jeehp.2017.14.21.

Current issues and areas for improvement in the Korean Dental Hygienist National Licensing Examination: an expert Delphi survey among dental hygienists

  • 1Department of Dental Hygiene, Hanyang Women's University, Seoul, Korea.
  • 2Department of Dental Hygiene, Suwon Women's University, Suwon, Korea.
  • 3Department of Dental Hygiene, Yeoju Institute of Technology, Yeoju, Korea.
  • 4Department of Dental Hygiene, Dongnam Health University, Suwon, Korea.
  • 5Department of Dental Hygiene, College of Medical Science, Konyang University, Daejeon, Korea.
  • 6Department of Dental Hygiene, Division of Health Science, Baekseok University, Cheonan, Korea. hajungeun@bu.ac.kr


This study aimed to investigate current issues and areas for improvement in the Korean Dental Hygienist National Licensing Examination (KDHNLE) through an expert Delphi survey.
A Delphi survey was conducted from May through August 2016 in Korea. This Delphi survey included 20 persons representing the field of dental hygiene (7 groups from various dental hygiene-related organizations). The Delphi survey was administered through e-mail as 3 rounds of questionnaire surveys regarding the issues facing the KDHNLE and potential solutions to those challenges. The primary Delphi survey was an open questionnaire. In each round, subjects' responses were categorized according to the detailed themes of their responses. The minimum value of the content validity ratio of the survey results was determined by the number of panels participating in the Delphi survey.
Issues facing the KDHNLE were identified from the results of the Delphi survey. The following 4 items had an average importance score of 4.0 or higher and were considered as important by over 85% of the panels: the failure of the practical test to reflect actual clinical settings, the focus of the practical test on dental scaling, the gap between the items evaluated on the national examination and actual practical work, and insufficiency in strengthening the expertise of licensed dental hygienists. The following items were suggested for improvement: more rigorous rater training, adjustment of the difficulty of the licensing examination, the introduction of a specialized dental hygienist system, and more rigorous refresher training for licensed dental hygienists.
Based on the above results, the KDHNLE should be improved according to the core competencies of dental hygienists, including on-site clinical practice experience.


Dental hygienists; Dental health surveys; Dental scaling; Republic of Korea

MeSH Terms

Dental Health Surveys
Dental Hygienists*
Dental Scaling
Electronic Mail
Oral Hygiene
Republic of Korea
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