An interprofessional school-based initiative to increase access to oral health care in underserved Florida counties.
Journal of Public Health Dentistry
dental caries, interprofessional education, oral health disparities, school-based nurses, underserved
OBJECTIVE: To examine and describe the effect of an oral health education program on school-based nurses' acquisition of oral health knowledge.
METHODS: Three-hour synchronous videoconference sessions provided training for nurses to conduct oral health risk assessments, screen for oral diseases, deliver oral health education, apply fluoride varnish, and refer children identified in need of further assessment and treatment to a dentist. Oral health knowledge acquisition was assessed by comparing pre-training and post-training examination scores. Analyses included descriptive statistics and the Wilcoxon signed-rank test.
RESULTS: Seventeen nurses from Suwannee, Lafayette, and Hamilton counties participated in the oral health education training program. Analyses of the school-based nurses' test results showed a significant increase in correct answers on the post-training test (93%) compared to the pre-training test (56%). Six hundred forty-one children from six elementary public schools received oral health education, oral screenings, and fluoride varnish applications. Fifty-eight percent of the children had untreated caries, 43% had treated caries, 15% had sealant on permanent molars, and 3% required urgent care. Nurses successfully referred children identified in need of further assessment and treatment to a dentist.
CONCLUSIONS: The synchronous videoconference oral health training program was effective in improving school-based nurses' oral health knowledge. The knowledge acquired by school-based nurses via oral health training programs can be leveraged to increase access to oral health care for vulnerable and unserved school-aged populations.
Morón, Elías M. and Singer, Richard, "An interprofessional school-based initiative to increase access to oral health care in underserved Florida counties." (2023). HPD Articles. 256.
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