The Dental Hygienist at the VA Palo Alto Healthcare System(VAPAHCS) provides direct patient care under the general supervision of the dentist and performs other clinical and clerical functions independent of direct supervision. It is expected that they provide direct patient care and receive guidance from higher-level or supervisory staff members for only the most complex patients. Basic Requirements: United States Citizenship: Non-citizens may only be appointed when it is not possible to recruit qualified citizens in accordance with VA Policy. Education. Applicants must possess an Associate degree or higher from an accredited dental hygiene program. The degree must have been obtained from an institution whose accreditation was in place for the year in which the course of study was completed. Approved programs are: (1) Dental hygiene programs accredited by the American Dental Association's Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA). (2) [Education completed outside of the United States must be considered at least equivalent to that gained in CODA accredited United States programs and would enable the candidate to sit for the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, which is administered by the Joint Commission on National Dental Examinations.] Licensure/Certification (1) Licensure. Applicants must be currently licensed to practice as a dental hygienist with a full, current and unrestricted license in a State, Territory or Commonwealth of the United States, or the District of Columbia. (2) Certification. P.L. 97-35, Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act Of 1981, requires persons who administer radiologic procedures meet the credentialing standards in 42 C.F.R. Part 75, Standards for the Accreditation of Educational Programs for and the Credentialing of Radiologic Personnel. To meet this requirement, they must have successfully completed an educational program that meets or exceeds the standards described in that regulation and is accredited by an organization recognized by the Department of Education and be certified as radiographers in their field. Accredited dental hygiene programs contain curriculum addressing radiologic procedures meets the requirement for certification as dental radiographers. (4) Loss of Credential. Management officials will remove dental hygienists from their positions who fail to maintain the required licensure/certification, which may also result in termination of employment. Foreign Education. To be creditable, education completed outside the U.S. must be deemed at least equivalent to that gained in a conventional U.S. program by a private organization specializing in the interpretation of foreign educational credentials. Physical Requirements. See VA Directive and Handbook 5019, Employee Occupational Health Service for requirements. English Language Proficiency. Dental hygienist candidates must be proficient in spoken and written English in accordance with 38 U.S.C. § 7403(f). Grade Determinations: GS-09 Experience. At least one year of experience at the next lower grade level that demonstrates the clinical competencies described at that level. In addition to meeting the KSAs for the GS-8 level, the candidate must demonstrate the following KSAs: i. Knowledge of hygiene procedures to explain the process and indication, complications and expected treatment outcomes for each. ii. Knowledge of proper usage of dental radiography equipment, radiation safety, assessment of proper image capture and interpretation of films. iii. Knowledge to select appropriate available fluoride products and indications/limitations for safe and proper application. iv. Skill in detecting plaque and calculus, dental abnormalities/pathologies, assessing inflammation and providing safe instrumentation for each procedure. v. Skill in educating patients and caregivers on periodontal disease, wellness, health maintenance, oral hygiene practices, parafunctional habits, and effects of illness, addictions, medications and tobacco on the oral cavity. vi. Ability to assess the patient's medical, dental, anxiety/phobias, medications and comorbidities to administer safe patient care. vii. Ability to assess the impact of patient's medical and dental condition on maintaining oral health, recognize age-related changes in individual patients, adapt patient environment, and maximize patient's physical comfort. References: VA Handbook 5005/146, PART II, APPENDIX G37. DENTAL HYGIENIST QUALIFICATION STANDARD, GS-0682, Veterans Health Administration dated July 23, 2021. The full performance level of this vacancy is GS-09. The actual grade at which an applicant may be selected for this vacancy is in the range of GS-5 to GS-9. Physical Requirements: Moderate Lifting (15-44b lbs.); Light Lifting (under 15 lbs.); Moderate carrying (15-44lbs); Light Carrying (under 15 lbs.); Reaching above shoulder; Use of fingers; Both hands required; Standing (up to 3 hours); Both Legs Required; Near vision correctable at 13" to 16";Hearing (aid permitted). ["Major duties and responsibilities include but are not limited to the following: Patient Care\n- Sets up operatory for planned dental procedure and cleans dental unit for timely turnover\n- Complies with patient identification, time-out and reusable medical equipment processes\n- Handles instruments safely, accurately, and efficiently\n- Takes and records vital signs, reviews medical history\n- Charts oral conditions\n- Assesses patient's medical, dental, anxiety/phobias, medications and comorbidities\n- Assesses the impact of patient's medical and dental condition on maintaining oral health\n- Recognizes age-related changes in individual patients, adapts patient environment, and maximizes\npatient's physical comfort\n- Provides routine oral prophylactic care\n- Provides gross debridement, scaling and root planing procedures\n- Provides subgingival curettage\n- Cleans dental prostheses, fixed and removable\n- Applies appropriate topical fluoride solutions or varnishes\n- Manages dental recall system, referring patients to the doctor for additional care when needed\n- Administers topical anesthetic agents\n- Administers local anesthesia (check to ensure hygienist's state license allows and certification is\ncurrent)\n- Applies desensitizing agents\n- Performs routine maintenance of equipment components such as suction traps, water lines, etc.\n- Accomplishes all procedures within standard infection-control protocols Patient Education\n- Provides patient education appropriate to the Veteran's needs and oral condition\n- Explains hygiene procedures, indications, complications and expected outcomes to individual patient\nand caregiver\n- Prepares and provides education on periodontal disease, wellness, health maintenance, oral hygiene\npractices, parafunctional habits, and effect of illness, addictions, medications and tobacco on the oral\ncavity Dental Imaging\n- Takes diagnostic quality images that are accurately oriented and exposed\n- Utilizes dental-imaging safety techniques with minimal retakes\nInfection Control and Equipment Sterilization\n- Demonstrates proper infection-control procedures in setting up and cleaning up operatory and in\nexposing images\n- Properly prepares instruments for sterilization by SPS standards\n- Prepares instruments in a manner that does not delay clinical care Clerical Functions\n- Assists patients in scheduling appointments\n- Assists in filling gaps in the schedule due to late cancellations and failed appointments\nInformation Management\n- Maintains patient confidentiality per HIPAA with written and verbal information\n- Follows computer security regulations Patient Safety\n- Modifies care as appropriate for patient's age and abilities (patient transfer and position)\n- Modifies care based on patient's medical, dental, anxiety/phobias, medications and comorbidities\n- Provides accurate and understandable instructions to patients\n- Participates in patient identification and time out per TJC requirements\n- Monitors patient condition during treatment, being alert for signs of physical distress Employee Education\n- Complies with Employee Education requirements\n- Completes mandatory annual safety training sessions\n- Maintains all continuing education requirements for professional licensure, certifications, etc. Work Schedule: Monday to Friday, 8:00 am - 4:30 pm.\nTelework: Not Available\nVirtual: This is not a virtual position.\nFunctional Statement #: 000000 - GS-09\nRelocation/Recruitment Incentives: Not Authorized\nPermanent Change of Station (PCS): Not Authorized\nFinancial Disclosure Report: Not required"]
Providing Health Care for Veterans: The Veterans Health Administration is America’s largest integrated health care system, providing care at 1,255 health care facilities, including 170 medical centers and 1,074 outpatient sites of care of varying complexity (VHA outpatient clinics), serving 9 million enrolled Veterans each year.