Fanshawe is the only school in Canada to get 100 per cent pass rate on exam

Header image for Interrobang article CREDIT: HELEN SYMONS
Fanshawe's 2021 Dental Hygiene graduates.

Fanshawe College has come out on top with a 100 per cent pass rate on the National Dental Hygiene Certification Board Exam. The closest schools to follow were Oxford College with 98 per cent and Algonquin College with 96 per cent.

“We have a long-standing record of being at that 100 per cent year after year,” said Kelly Turner, professor and former program coordinator (2020) of the dental hygiene program. “I think the changes that we made, the faculty being so creative, flexible, and dedicated helped to keep that quality of the programming where it always has been with Fanshawe College.”

It was a tough year for students, since the COVID-19 pandemic put their programming on hold. They were no longer able to work on clients and their school year was extended into the summer. Fanshawe made changes to the curriculum to help everyone get the best education possible.

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Initially, dental hygiene students worked out of Western University, using their facilities. Then Fanshawe started planning to open their own dental hygiene clinic.

“We put all their theory courses into fall of 2020, hoping that by January, we’d be open. And we were. Basically, just in time,” said Turner.

When they returned, the clinic was ready for students to use and opened to the public in May of this year. 

“When we came to January of 2021, [students] had not had an instrument in their hand since March 2020. Some of them hadn’t even seen a real client yet. They were feeling worried and like they’d forgotten things. So we developed an entire refresher course for that winter and they were able to go back into our new simulation area, which is amazing.”

Turner said this refresher course could potentially become a continuing education course once Fanshawe is able to open its doors to the community.

Upon graduating, students had a guaranteed job, since there is high demand for dental hygienists.

“Our regulatory body will announce how many retirements there are in a certain time period. Typically, there’s about 30. At the height of the pandemic, there were 600 that had left in Ontario, so it has really left some holes.”

For the current first and second year students in the three-year program, it really gave them hope.

“I think it gives them the confidence to know that Fanshawe is still about quality and that’s what they’re going to get from us.”

Turner added that she is so proud of the graduates and how resilient they were after having setbacks.