Standards of Practice set the minimum levels of professional behaviour and conduct of regulated health professionals. It is the responsibility of the dental hygienist to understand the College’s Standards of Practice and adhere to them in their practice of dental hygiene. Performance below the minimum standard is considered unprofessional conduct as per the HPA.
The Standards of Practice serve several purposes, including:
- Defining for dental hygienists the minimum performance expectations that they must meet in their practice.
- Providing the public, employers, and other health professionals with benchmarks against which the professional practice of a dental hygienist can be measured.
- Fulfilling the requirements for the profession as set out by the Government of Alberta in the HPA.
- Equipping the College with a legal framework for investigating complaints and pursuing disciplinary actions.
The Standards of Practice:
- exist to support the College’s mandate to ensure Alberta dental hygienists have the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and judgment to provide safe, effective, ethical, and beneficial oral healthcare services to the Alberta public.
- are applicable to all dental hygienists in Alberta regardless of practice setting.
- are comprised of standalone Standards that are to be considered part of a comprehensive unit of Standards that dental hygienists use in conjunction to inform their practice.
- align with and are mutually supportive of other regulatory documents that guide the profession, including the HPA, Dental Hygienists Profession Regulation, and the College’s Code of Ethics, Bylaws, and various guidelines.
- set the minimum levels of professional behaviour and conduct for dental hygienists, and where inconsistencies exist between Standards of Practice and employment policies, dental hygienists are expected to meet or exceed the Standard of Practice. (e.g., If a Standard of Practice exceeds the expectation of an employer policy, the dental hygienist is expected to meet the Standard of Practice.)
- will evolve over time, and substantive changes will be adopted only after consultation with the profession and others as prescribed under the HPA.