Objective: To ascertain the current nurse training establishments' (NTEs') commitment to the teaching of oral care, and its coverage in nursing literature.
Setting: All NTEs in the UK for 1996/97
Subjects and methods: Self-completion questionnaire sent to all 162 Directors of Education of NTEs in the UK.
Main outcome measures: A subjective assessment of the adequacy of the coverage of oral care in syllabi offered as part of nursing training; a subjective assessment of the relevance of literature recommended for student reading.
Results: 72% (117) responded. 27% (32) were post-registration NTEs not teaching oral care. The remaining 85 completed questionnaires were analysed. 79% (67) of these had no dental input; 75% (64) would welcome some. 28% (24) taught the use of an oral care assessment form; 38% (32) discussed dental plaque. 38% (32) had no exclusive lectures on oral care. Of 31 textbooks, only 1 had comprehensive coverage of the subject. The majority scored less than 25% on the assessment system.
Conclusions: Many NTEs have oral care syllabus deficiencies. Students are recommended books which have insufficient information to provide an insight into oral care or dental disease. There would appear to be an urgent requirement for the nursing and dental professions to liaise in order to remedy this situation.