Best Practices Self Initiation
Best Practices Record Keeping

Self Initiation Course for Dental Hygienists- Nova Scotia

Self initiation means dental hygienist can determine when it is appropriate to proceed with dental hygiene care. It is defined in the new Regulations as the “self directed clinical practice of dental hygiene by a dental hygienist in the absence of a written protocol as set out in Schedule “A”. In reality most dental hygienists currently self initiate dental hygiene care however the former legislation under the Dental Act did not acknowledge this common practice.

Under the Dental Hygienists Act, the object of the CDHNS is to serve and protect the public by setting standards of care, education and other regulatory requirements. The objective of the CDHNS in requiring all dental hygienists to take the Self Initiation Course is to set a standard for practice in the province and to offer assurance to Nova Scotians that dental hygienists are fully competent to provide safe and effective care. The course will give members comprehensive knowledge of the Dental Hygiene Process of Care which forms the framework within which dental hygiene services are conducted. Successful completion of the course will ensure that dental hygienists possess the necessary level of knowledge skills and judgment required to self initiate dental hygiene care. It ensures all dental hygienists the right to be self initiating regardless of practice location and eliminates the necessity for a dentist’s order.

The goals of public protection and improved access to dental hygiene care are enhanced by requiring all dental hygienists to successfully complete the self initiation course.

The Dental Hygienists Act of Nova Scotia, 2007 and the Regulations came into effect May 15, 2009. Under this legislation all dental hygienists who were registered and licensed previously become members of the CDHN.Under the Regulations, Section 8 (1) (h) all members who held a practicing license at the time the legislation came into effect will have up to two years following initial licensing by the CDHNS to complete a Self Initiation Course approved by the CDHNS. Until a member completes the Self Initiation Course, they must practice with a general written protocol/order, signed by a dentist.

Under the Act and Regulations, members approved by the CDHNS to self-initiate the authorized act of scaling of teeth and root planing (including curetting of surrounding tissue); ordering, administering and interpreting radiographs for dental hygiene purposes, ordering, administering or prescribing those drugs included in clause 25(a), may do so without an protocol/order from a dentist subject to the Regulation on contraindications; Section 28, (1-4). Successful completion of this course will allow dental hygienists to apply to the CDHNS for approval to self-initiate these authorized acts as set out in the Act and the Regulations.

Dental Hygienists Regulation Section 8 (1) (h) for an applicant who intends to engage in self-directed clinical practice and for an applicant applying for a practising licence 2 years after being issued an initial licence under the Act, they must ( i) have successfully completed the self-initiation module,
On June 6, 2009 the Council of the College of Dental; Hygienists approved the following motion:

Moved that Council approves the Self Initiation Course for Dental Hygienists – Nova Scotia online at CDHA on June15, 2009 as the course which meets the requirement of Reg. 8(1) (h)
The online course at CDHA will be given 33 hours of Continuing Education Credit under the CDHNS Continuing Education Requirements.

Following completion of the course online members must submit their certificate of completion to the CDHNS and request approval for authorization to self initiate dental hygiene care. All hygienists currently registered and licensed must complete this course by the license renewal period Oct 31, 2011

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