A qualitative study of the role of Dental Therapy in New Zealand

Helen Tane

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: To investigate the role of the dental therapy profession in New Zealand, identifying the foundation of the profession, and the influences that have shaped its role. Design: Qualitative study incorporating transcripts fromoral archives, national questionnaires, and semi-structured interviews with key people of influence among the oral health professions. Methods: A selection of data was ordered into a written sequence and presented in a thesis, to demonstrate key influencing factors evident in the introduction, training and work of New Zealand's dental nurses. Results: Education for the dental therapy profession was preceded by the school dental nurse vocation and, despite the intention for the dental nurse's role to be one of 'forestalling disease' and 'prevention', the eventual role was very different. Conclusions: The study provides evidence of the valuable role of Dental Therapy in New Zealand's public health sector, but whether the role has been utilised most effectively is questionable, particularly when considering the original objectives that were given when the School Dental Nurse concept was first introduced.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)82-86
Number of pages5
JournalNew Zealand Dental Journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2009


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