Pediatric Oral Health Practices Among Nurses: A Pilot Study
Denise M. Claiborne, Susan J. Daniel, Muge Akpinar-Elci, and Linda Bennington
Increasing evidence suggests preventive oral screenings reduce the incidence of dental caries among pediatric patients. Nurses working in primary care settings are uniquely situated to assist in preventive dental care through performing oral health assessments, providing education to caregivers, and promoting the age one dental visit. However, many nurses report inadequate formal educational preparation to perform these tasks. This pilot study investigated the level of pediatric oral health knowledge and practices of nurses in Southeast Virginia.
An experimental design assessed differences in knowledge and practice behaviors of nurses before and after an educational module. The accessible population included nurses in Southeast Virginia who worked in primary care settings. Individuals were recruited using a nonprobability “snowballing” technique. Forty-six advanced practice registered nurses, registered nurses, and licensed practical nurses were recruited for the study and randomized into the control or intervention group. Thirty-three participants completed all portions of the study. A pediatric oral health educational module was used to raise awareness and improve practice behaviors. The primary outcome measure prior to data collection was knowledge and oral health practices.
Scores for pediatric oral health knowledge (p><=0.05), confidence in performing oral health assessments (p<=0.05), and confidence advising parents (p<=0.05) improved within both groups after receiving the educational module. Although the direct effect of the educational module could not be determined, overall awareness of pediatric oral health practices improved in both groups.