School of Education
Doctor of Philosophy in Education (PhD)
dental hygiene, clinical instructor, adult learning theory, professional development
Curriculum and Instruction
Fehrenbacher, Jennifer Elizabeth, "The Experiences of Dentists and Dental Hygienists as They Transition to Teaching as Clinical Instructors: A Transcendental Phenomenology" (2023). Doctoral Dissertations and Projects. 4321.
The purpose of this transcendental phenomenology was to explore the experiences of dentists and dental hygienists who transitioned from clinical practice to the role of clinical instructor at Southern University. The theory of andragogy was used to guide this study because it provided a framework for training clinical instructors as adult learners. This study focused on the central research question, "What are the experiences of dentists and dental hygienists who have transitioned from clinical practice to the role of clinical instructors?" A transcendental phenomenological study approach was used to provide a deeper understanding of participants' experiences and their thought processes as they transitioned from clinical practitioners to their roles as clinical instructors. Purposeful sampling was used to recruit dentists and dental hygienists who served as clinical instructors in a dental hygiene program at a midwestern public university. Data collection was triangulated using individual interviews, photograph journals, and a virtual focus group. Data analysis was conducted using epoché, phenomenological reduction, imaginative variance, and synthesis of the structural and textural descriptions gathered during data collection. The researcher uncovered five themes from the data collection: life responsibilities, challenges faced, training received, training needed, and training delivery preferences. These themes helped to create an understanding of the phenomena of transitioning from clinical practitioner to clinical instructor as the participants experienced it. The study's findings demonstrated the need to train dentists and dental hygienists to become clinical instructors. Keywords: dental hygiene, clinical instructor, adult learning theory, professional development