Date of Award

Spring 2021


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Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS) in Dental Hygiene


Dental Hygiene


Purpose: Ergonomics plays an important role in identifying and reducing biomechanical stress and preventing musculoskeletal (MSK) injuries by creating a better fit between physical requirements and work environments. This study examined the benefits of implementing an interprofessional education (IPE) module in a dental hygiene curriculum with a dental hygienist (DH) and occupational therapist (OT) teaching and assessing students’ ergonomics.

Methods: Students participated in an IPE intervention to incorporate preventive techniques into their daily routine, to model these protective strategies for use as practicing DHs throughout their careers. Prior to the module and at the end of the six-week study, students completed a pretest and posttest about the importance of ergonomics, confidence levels regarding their attitudes, and knowledge of ergonomics. Throughout the study, students practiced their ergonomic strategies and were provided impromptu photographs of their ergonomics at the second and sixth weeks. Subsequently, students self-assessed, and the OT and the principal investigator (PI) provided feedback on their photos using the compliance assessment of dental ergonomic posture requirements (CADEP). The data were compared for quantitative changes and qualitative thoughts from participant responses.

Results: Thirty-five students (n = 35) participated in both pretest and posttest. There were statistically significant changes in participants’ ergonomic strategies (Z = 15.0) as well as in their confidence (p = 0.000), and value (p = 0.000) discussing ergonomics.

Conclusion: Introducing IPE between a dental professional and OT with the use of an assessment tool to DH students can improve MSK pain and even strengthen the MSK system.