The role of Polish school nurses in the oral health promotion for 7-19 year-old children and adolescents
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionEuropean Archives of Paediatric Dentistry. 2021, 22, 265–272 10.1007/s40368-020-00546-6
Purpose The assessment of the role of school nurses in the oral health education and counselling of children and adolescents aged 7–19 years. Methods A self-administered questionnaire was used to evaluate nurses’ practice in oral health education, previous training in caries prevention, collaboration with a dentist and self-assessment of knowledge. Data were analysed with the Chi square test. Results The study group consisted of 140 Polish school nurses. Respondents declared the following activities: dietary counselling (99.2%), oral hygiene education (92.8%), NHS-funded supervised fluoride prophylaxis (82.8%), and caries screenings (4.3%). 47.1% participated in training on caries prevention, 25.7% had a collaboration with a dentist. Nurses from schools located in towns less frequently provided oral hygiene education (p < 0.005) and dietary counselling, but more often had a collaboration with a dentist (p < 0.05). The youngest nurses were more confident about their knowledge (p < 0.05). There was an association between participation in training on caries prevention and positive opinion on a school-based fluoride prophylaxis (p < 0.01). Nurses who did not include dental topics in their practice worked mainly with pupils older than 15 years, had shorter experience (p < 0.05), secondary education, worked in urban areas and had no training on dental problems (p < 0.01). Conclusion Polish school nurses have potentially crucial roles in improving the oral health status in pupils through oral hygiene education, dietary counselling and fluoride prophylaxis included in their duties.