Short- and long-term effects of training on dental hygiene faculty members' capacity to write SOAP notes

Mary E. Jacks, Christine Blue, Douglas Murphy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Calibration among faculty is challenging to achieve and maintain. In this study, calibration refers to the training process by which standardization of chart documentation in a SOAP note format was achieved. In the SOAP format, chart entries by health care providers are written in the following categories: Subjective data, Objective data, Assessment, and Plans. The primary training "effect" or outcome that was measured in this study was the capacity of faculty members to write a SOAP note that adhered to prescribed standards for chart documentation. This study was conducted to assess the short-term effects of training and determine whether faculty members' capacity to write appropriately constructed SOAP notes could be sustained for one year. Eight dental hygiene faculty members at the University of Minnesota participated in a pre-training assessment in which they prepared a SOAP note based on a patient case, completed a training session on writing SOAP notes, and completed a post-training test shortly after training that also consisted of writing a SOAP note based on a patient's case. One year later, a follow-up test, similar to the pre- and post-tests, was conducted. Each component of the SOAP note was compared and scored against a gold standard benchmark score of 29 that represented the number of items that should have been included in an ideal SOAP note in the estimation of the investigators, based on chart documentation guidelines of the University of Minnesota Dental Hygiene Division. The mean score for the pre-test was 18.25 (SD=2.82), which represented 63 percent of the benchmark gold standard score of 29. The post-test mean score immediately after training was 24.63 (SD=2.13; 84.9 percent of the benchmark score), and the one-year follow-up mean score was 22.75 (SD=1.83; 78.4 percent of the gold standard benchmark). From the pre-test to the post-test administered in close approximation to the SOAP note training, faculty members' approximation of the gold standard benchmark increased by 35 percent, or 6.28 points, and from the post-test to the follow-up test one year subsequently, approximation of the benchmark score decreased by approximately 1 percent or 1.88 points. Friedman's test indicated that the differences in mean scores for the pre-test, post-test, and follow-up test were significant. The Sign test was used for post hoc tests; alpha was adjusted using Bonferroni's procedure. Conclusions support a hypothesis that faculty capacity to write a SOAP note that adheres to standards can be increased through training and that the effects can be maintained over a period of approximately one year.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)719-724
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of dental education
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2008


  • Calibration
  • Dental hygiene faculty
  • SOAP notes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Dentistry(all)

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