Dental Hygiene Program
Student Handbook

The student shall be familiar with the Shasta College Dental Hygiene Student Handbook and Clinic Manual and the policies described therein.   

Student Responsibilities regarding Personal Health Status
Throughout the program, the student must maintain a current CPR certification for the Healthcare Professional; will provide yearly proof of a negative TB skin test and/or chest x-ray or medically appropriate screening for positive PPD; and present documentation of an annual flu vaccine.

Protective gear is available in the clinical settings. The student is expected to wear appropriate protection to prevent body fluid exposure, including goggles or face shield, gloves and gowns, if needed. Dental Hygiene personnel are professionally and ethically obligated to provide patient care with respect for human dignity. Student assignments may include clients who are at risk for contracting or have an infectious disease such as HIV, AIDS, HBV, TB, etc.  

Injury and/or Body Fluid Exposure in the Clinical Setting  
The student is expected to follow recommended treatment/steps for injury or body fluid exposure as identified in the Post Exposure Plan. Examples of incidents in the clinical areas to report include: Any break to skin integrity, needle sticks, body fluid splashes, neck and back strains, sprains, assaults by patients, injuries from equipment, etc. It is important that the student report any injury to the instructor at the time it occurs to allow for adequate treatment.

Student Standards regarding Client Information
The student will consider all information obtained regarding the client’s status as strictly confidential. The Dental Hygiene program adheres to HIPAA regulations. The student hereby recognizes that medical/dental records, emergency department and ambulance records, base station reports, 5150 applications, child abuse reporting forms, elder abuse reporting forms, laboratory requests and results, and x-ray requests and results are typical of documents that are considered privileged and should not be discussed by the student with individuals not involved with the care of the patient.

Conversations between dentists, dental hygienists, and other health care professionals in the setting of a patient receiving care are privileged communications and may not be discussed. Computer documentation and student access codes are privileged information. These are not to be shared.

The student understands that pursuant to Section 6152(a) of the California Business and Professions Code, if it is determined that a breech of confidentiality has occurred as a result of a student’s actions, that student can be liable for damages that result from such a breech. Action to decertify or seek disciplinary action with the licensing board may be taken against the student.

Clinical Occurrence Errors
Students may receive occurrence errors in clinic while performing any clinical procedure; including during CSEs and requirements attempts, as-well-as for professionalism, behavior, attitude, and breach of policy. An occurrence error obtained in the clinic session voids all points and requirements obtained in the clinical session.

The purpose for Occurrence Errors is:

  • above all to provide safety to the patient,
  • to introduce professionalism and professional demeanor to the student.   

An Occurrence Error is a breach of patient safety and/or breach of professionalism by the student.
In the event that a student receives an occurrence error, they will be required to meet with their faculty advisor and the clinic coordinator to discuss the occurrence error. At that meeting, the faculty will make suggestions to prevent such errors in the future.

If a student receives more than one (1) Occurrence Error in any one semester, or receives an accumulated total of  three (3) Occurrence Errors over the course of the 2-year program, he/she will be dismissed from the Shasta College Dental Hygiene Program.

Radiation Safety Violations
Gross violations of radiation safety may result in disqualification of the FMX, BW critique, and/or dismissal from the dental hygiene program.

Examples include but are not limited to:

  • Unsafe exposure technique which may jeopardize patient, or non-patient’s health.
  • Additional exposures which have not been authorized by overseeing Dentist or faculty.
  • Exposure of patients who do not have current prescription and/or who are unqualified for exposure.
  • Breaches is asepsis technique.

Safe Patient Care
Students failing to apply safe clinical practice methodologies, resulting in the potential for actual patient harm, injury, or death, will not be allowed to continue to provide clinical dental hygiene care and will receive a failing clinical grade, be dismissed from the program, and will not be eligible for re-entry into the program.

Standards for Practice of Clinical Skills
It is expected that students will spend time outside of class practicing scaling and instrumentation principles on models.  Mannequin mounts for home practice on off-hours in the clinic may be checked out during the semester.  Students are responsible for any damage to the mounts. 

Students may not practice on another person (including other dental hygiene students) in clinic unless permission is first obtained by faculty and prerequisite performance tests are successfully completed. 

Patient Recruitment
Efforts are made to obtain suitable clinic patients from the community through our liaisons with the local organizations, and through class assignments or recruitment activities.  However, it is also necessary for students to make additional individual efforts.  It is ultimately the students’ responsibility to obtain appropriate patients for each clinic semester in order to obtain the appropriate competency for clinical requirements.  The clinic is open to the public and continuous patient recruitment is required to increase the opportunity for exceptional clinic learning cases.

Community Activities
As the dental hygiene program is one of the most recognizable Shasta College programs in the community, there are occasions when participation in community activities will be required by students.  For example, since 2005, the dental hygiene program participated in the National “Give Kids a Smile” day.  Other activities may be health fairs, continuing education seminars sponsored by the local dental or dental hygiene society.

The program director and /or faculty will make every effort to provide advanced notice of such community activities that may be beneficial for student knowledge.

To assist in student success, the program assigns each first year student a mentoring student from the second year class. This allows new students to exchange information throughout the program that may be helpful to their overall success as they experience lectures courses and clinic sessions.

Professional Standards 


Dental Hygiene Student Handbook