Oral Assessment and Nursing Interventions among Nigerian Nurses-Knowledge, Practices and Educational Needs
Background: Assessment of oral condition, oral care, and informing the attending doctor of unusual oral findings for possible consultation or referral to a dentist are the advocated roles of hospital nurses. The objective of the study was thus to assess the roles of Nigerian nurses in the assessment of oral conditions of hospitalized patients.
Methods: This questionnaire-based cross-sectional survey of all nurses caring for hospitalized patients in the University of Benin Teaching Hospital was conducted in the first half of 2010.
Results: Of the 384 studied participants, 94.3% considered oral care as an important aspect of nursing care and 73.4% had oral health component in their nursing school curriculum. A total of 80.7% reported suspicious and abnormal findings in hospitalized patients to the attending doctor. Amongst the respondents, 38.0% reported ability to conduct good oral tissue examination. Only 28.1% demonstrated good knowledge of common oral diseases. Three-quarters (73.4%) thought that it is compulsory for nurses to assess the oral condition of hospitalized patients. The 67.7% and 21.9% of the respondents did the assessment on admission and discharge respectively. The majority (90.1%) desired training on oral care of hospitalized patients.
Conclusion: There is a need to improve the skill and competence of nurses in the assessment of oral condition to make them a substantive partner in the oral care of hospitalized patients.
Keywords: hospitalized patients, nurses, oral condition, roles