Extending dental nurses' duties: a national survey investigating skill-mix in Scotland's child oral health improvement programme (Childsmile)

Gnich, W., Deas, L., Mackenzie, S., Burns, J. and Conway, D. I. (2014) Extending dental nurses' duties: a national survey investigating skill-mix in Scotland's child oral health improvement programme (Childsmile). BMC Oral Health, 14(1), p. 137. (doi:10.1186/1472-6831-14-137)

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Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1472-6831-14-137

Abstract

Background: Childsmile is Scotland’s national child oral health improvement programme. To support the delivery of prevention in general dental practice in keeping with clinical guidelines, Childsmile sought accreditation for extended duty training for dental nurses to deliver clinical preventive care. This approach has allowed extended duty dental nurses (EDDNs) to take on roles traditionally undertaken by general dental practitioners (GDPs). While skill-mix approaches have been found to work well in general medicine, they have not been formally evaluated in dentistry. Understanding the factors which influence nurses’ ability to fully deliver their extended roles is necessary to ensure nurses’ potential is reached and that children receive preventive care in line with clinical guidance in a cost-effective way. This paper investigates the supplementation of GDPs’ roles by EDDNs, in general dental practice across Scotland. Methods: A cross-sectional postal survey aiming to reach all EDDNs practising in general dental practice in Scotland was undertaken. The survey measured nurses’: role satisfaction, perceived utility of training, frequency, and potential behavioural mediators of, preventive delivery. Frequencies, correlations and multi-variable linear regression were used to analyse the data. Results: Seventy-three percent of practices responded with 174 eligible nurses returning questionnaires. Respondents reported a very high level of role satisfaction and the majority found their training helpful in preparing them for their extended role. While a high level of preventive delivery was reported, fluoride vanish (FV) was delivered less frequently than dietary advice (DA), or oral hygiene advice (OHA). Delivering FV more frequently was associated with higher role satisfaction (p < 0.001). Those nurses who had been practising longer reported delivering FV less frequently than those more recently qualified (p < 0.001). Perceived difficulty of delivering preventive care (skills) and motivation to do so were most strongly associated with frequency of delivery (p < 0.001 for delivery of FV, DA and OHA). Conclusions: This study has provided insight into EDDNs’ experiences and demonstrates that with appropriate training and support, EDDNs can supplement GDPs’ roles in general dental practice in Scotland. However, some barriers to delivery were identified with delivery of FV showing scope for improvement.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Mackenzie, Miss Sarah and Gnich, Dr Wendy and Conway, Professor David and Deas, Dr Leigh
Authors: Gnich, W., Deas, L., Mackenzie, S., Burns, J., and Conway, D. I.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Medicine, Dentistry & Nursing > Dental School
Journal Name:BMC Oral Health
Publisher:BioMed Central
ISSN:1472-6831
ISSN (Online):1472-6831
Copyright Holders:Copyright © Gnich et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
First Published:First published in BMC Oral Health 14(1):137
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License
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