Curriculum, early childhood caries, knowledge, pediatric nurse practitioner



  1. Pike, Nancy A. PhD, RN, CPNP-AC/PC, FAAN (Professor & Director of Research)


ABSTRACT: Pediatric nurse practitioners (PNPs) are a significant workforce in primary care and are uniquely positioned to improve oral health in children through ongoing surveillance in the well-child visit. The purpose of this study was to evaluate PNP student satisfaction and knowledge gained with the integration of the Strategic Partnership for Interprofessional Collaborative Education in Pediatric Dentistry (SPICE-PD) oral health education program into the first-year primary care curriculum. A descriptive, comparative design examined dental test scores across the pre-SPICE-PD (2013-2014; n = 26) and post-SPICE-PD (2015-2020; n = 55) cohorts. An electronic survey was completed (n = 47; 67%), and focus group (n = 12) audio-recordings were analyzed using Atlas.ti 8.0. Chi-square test and independent samples t-test were used to assess differences between groups. The SPICE-PD students reported improved knowledge and skill in clinical practice. Focus group themes were oral health education was beneficial, impact of coronavirus disease 2019, and suggestions for improvement. Mean dental test scores improved pre- and post-SPICE-PD (83 vs. 93; p < .001). The SPICE-PD oral health education improved knowledge and was highly satisfying for students. Pediatric nurse practitioners are ideally positioned to integrate oral health into primary care services, thereby improving access to care and ultimately reducing or mitigating early childhood caries. Evaluation of PNP postgraduation practices in the primary care setting is needed to assess whether improved knowledge results in practice change.