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Nursing Research and Practice
Volume 2012, Article ID 157874, 10 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/157874
Research Article

Infusing Oral Health Care into Nursing Curriculum: Addressing Preventive Health in Aging and Disability

1Department of Nursing, College of Health and Human Services, University of New Hampshire, 4 Library Way, Hewitt Hall Room 279, Durham, NH 03824-3563, USA
2UCLA School of Nursing, Factor Building, P.O. Box 956919, Los Angeles, CA 90095-6919, USA
3University of the Pacific School of Dentistry, 2155 Webster Street, San Francisco, CA 94115, USA
4Living Healthy with a Disability Program, California Department of Public Health, 1616 Capitol Avenue, Suite 74-660, P.O. Box 997377, MS 7214, Sacramento, CA 95899, USA

Received 1 October 2011; Revised 8 December 2011; Accepted 29 December 2011

Academic Editor: Stefanie Russell

Copyright © 2012 Joan Earle Hahn et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Access to oral health care is essential for promoting and maintaining overall health and well-being, yet oral health disparities exist among vulnerable and underserved populations. While nurses make up the largest portion of the health care work force, educational preparation to address oral health needs of elders and persons with disabilities is limited across nursing curricula. This descriptive study reports on the interdisciplinary development, implementation, and testing of an oral health module that was included and infused into a graduate nursing curriculum in a three-phase plan. Phase 1 includes evaluation of a lecture presented to eight gerontological nurse practitioner (GNP) students. Phase 2 includes evaluation of GNP students’ perceptions of learning, skills, and confidence following a one-time 8-hour practicum infused into 80 required practicum hours. The evaluation data show promise in preparing nurse practitioner students to assess and address preventive oral health needs of persons aging with disabilities such that further infusion and inclusion in a course for nurse practitioners across five specialties will implemented and tested in Phase 3.