Evaluation of an Interprofessional Oral Health Assessment Activity in Advanced Practice Nursing Education

J Dent Educ. 2018 Oct;82(10):1084-1090. doi: 10.21815/JDE.018.103.


The curriculum for nurse practitioner (NP) students often overlooks the assessment of the oral cavity. In recognition of this, the HEENT (head, eyes, ears, nose, and throat) assessment was expanded to HEENOT (head, ears, eyes, nose, oral, and throat) through integration of an interprofessional educational (IPE) activity developed for University of Colorado NP and dental students. The aim of this study was to assess NP students' perceptions of an IPE activity in which dental faculty and students taught NP students how to conduct an oral exam, recognize oral health pathology, and apply fluoride varnish. Afterwards, the NP students completed an evaluation survey focusing on their thoughts, comfort level, organization, and understanding of the activity. This IPE activity was repeated over four semesters from 2014 to 2017, and significant differences among the semesters were compared. All NP students in the four semesters participated in the activity and the survey: semester one N=25, semester two N=31, semester three N=43, and semester four N=25. In all semesters, NP students reported feeling more confident conducting oral health exams after completion of the IPE activity. Semester four students agreed more with the idea of interprofessional collaboration (OR: 0.103) and receiving educational information not learned elsewhere in the curriculum (OR: 0.134) compared to semester one students. Higher odds for the session being well organized and conducted in a suitable time were found for semester four compared to semester two (OR: 0.217). These comparisons reflect improvement in teaching methodologies over the four semesters and an overall increased confidence for NP students in performing an oral health assessment.

Keywords: advanced practice nursing education; dental students; interprofessional education; nurse practitioner education; nurse practitioner students; nurse practitioners; oral examination; oral health education.

MeSH terms

  • Advanced Practice Nursing / education*
  • Curriculum
  • Humans
  • Interprofessional Relations
  • Oral Health / education*
  • Program Evaluation
  • Surveys and Questionnaires