A team-based approach to oral health is critical to addressing the growing caries epidemic. Dental caries is the most common chronic illness of childhood and is a growing public health problem. Untreated, caries can lead to pain, cellulitis, spread of infection, and even death. Dentists and primary care advanced practice registered nurses are ideal practice partners to address this growing public health problem because of their respective foci on patient education, screening, early intervention, and coordination of care. Yet nursing and dental educators have not established effective methods to ensure advanced-practice nurses and dental residents are adequately trained to understand each other’s scope of practice and how care for patients can be optimized in collaborative practice. This interprofessional curriculum introduces oral health, growth and development, and principles of interprofessional collaborative practice. It is designed to provide a systematic and pedagogical progression from didactic to clinical experience that allows trainees to learn from each other and apply newly learned skills to practice. Trainees in advanced practice nursing (second-year pediatric nurse practitioner, doctor of nursing practice) or primary care trainees and pediatric dental residents are suited for this three-part curriculum. The curriculum includes an online module, a seminar, and a 4-hour clinical experience. This curriculum was used with a group of pediatric nurse practitioner and pediatric dental residents over the course of 2 months. Common pitfalls included facilitating interprofessional groups of learners, the potential for students to misunderstand the purpose of the experience, and lack of in-depth training for facilitators in the purposes and goals of interprofessional education. Students should be provided with clear explanations of the purpose of the activity and a schedule of activities that includes learning objectives for each module. Trainees should be given adequate time to debrief after each experience to emphasize learning opportunities and allow for self-reflection. Future plans include expanding to include other health professions, conducting more intentional faculty development in interprofessional group facilitation, lengthening the time for the seminar experience, and creating a reciprocal experience in a pediatric primary care setting.
- Gain basic knowledge of oral health and growth and development so as to conduct an oral health risk assessment and a focused developmental assessment in infants and children.
- Understand and appreciate how health professions can work together to provide team care.
- Recognize how one’s own uniqueness, including experience level, expertise, culture, power, and hierarchy within the health care team, contributes to effective communication, conflict resolution, and positive interprofessional working relationships.
- Translate knowledge and skills into practice.
- Apply knowledge and skills learned to clinical practice.
None to report.
This research was supported by the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation; Health Resources and Services Administration, Department of Health and Human Services, under grant number U1KHP09543 and title "Faculty Development: Integrated Technology Into Nursing Education & Practice Initiative."
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