A Study on Work Environments for Dental Hygienists:
- focusing on kind of workplace, career and service area
Jung-Sook Yoo, Young-Nam Kim1, Gyeong-Soon Han2,
Dept.. of Dental Hygiene, KeukDong College
1Dept. of Dental Hygiene, KyungBok College,
2Dept. of Dental Hygiene, GachonUniversityof Medicine and Science
The purpose of this study was to examine the work environments of dental hygienists, to find out about what problems there were with their work environments and ultimately to help improve their work environments. It's basically intended to pave the way for furthering the welfare and interests of dental hygienists. The subjects in this study were dental hygienists who were selected by random sampling from among the members of Korean Dental Hygienists Association. Approximately 20 percent of the members each were selected from every region across the nation, and their work environments were investigated in consideration of the kind of their workplaces, service area, career and field of duties. As for the demographic characteristics of the dental hygienists investigated, there were differences between those who worked in the field of health care and the clinical workers. More of the former were older and married, and the former was ahead of the latter in career and education as well. Regarding working hours and leave of absence by kind of workplace, the number of regular average holidays was different according to their place of employment. Dental hospitals (6.66 days) and dental clinics(6.81 days) gave their employees less days off on the whole, whereas public dental clinics(19.29 days) granted the dental hygienists the longest leave of absence. Also, there was a broad gap in the number of regular average holidays among different regions in the nation. The dental hygienists who worked in Gangweon province enjoyed the longest holidays(10.88 days), while those on Jeju Island took the shortest vacation(4.46 days). Concerning monthly mean pay by place of employment, those who worked in public dental clinics were paid the best, and the dental hospital employees received the smallest pay. Their monthly mean pay significantly varied with the kind of their workplaces. As to connections between service area and pay level in the event of the dental hygienists with a four-year career, those who served in Seoul were paid the best(1,820,800 won), followed by Gyeonggi province (1,795,800 won), Gyeongsang province(1,604,200 won), metropolitan cities (1,424,800), Gangweon province(1,300,000 won) and Jeolla province (1,016,700 won). In regard to the starting pay in the different areas, the starting pay was largest in Seoul(1,501,800 won) and smallest in Jeolla province(904,000 won).
Concerning work environments by place of employment, the dental hygienists in public dental clinics, general hospitals and university hospitals were far older than the others, and the career of the former was much larger than that of the latter. As to the number of regular leave of absence, public dental clinics, general hospitals and university hospitals were different from dental hospitals and clinics in that regard as well. Concerning monthly pay, public dental clinics paid their employees the best, and dental hospitals and clinics were ahead in terms of pay raise. But the reason seemed that public dental clinics and general hospitals increased the pay of their employees based on a fixed wage system and according to a fixed rate at the same time. As for relations between career and work environments, the pay of the dental hygienists differed with their career. The amount and rate of pay raise were largest for those whose career was between four years and less than six years, and smallest for those whose career was between seven years and less than nine years.
The above-mentioned findings of the study suggested that in order to give dental hygienists better treatment, pay and welfare benefits should urgently be improved, and that it's required to take actions to boost their job satisfaction.
Besides, they should be given more chances to receive education or to take training courses in pursuit of self-development, and how to narrow gaps in work environments among different regions or fields should carefully be considered.