Background and purpose:
Nurse practitioners (NPs) are a significant segment of the US primary care workforce and have a pivotal role in improving access to oral health (OH) care. The purpose of this research was to assess OH curricular integration in primary care NP programs and to examine factors that influence integration and satisfaction with graduates' level of OH competence.
A cross-sectional, national survey of NP programs (N = 466) was conducted using an electronically distributed 19-item, self-administered questionnaire. Data analysis included univariate, bivariate, multivariate statistics, and logistic regression modeling.
The large majority of pediatric, family, and adult–gerontology primary care programs are educating NP graduates about OH. Significant factors promoting integration and satisfaction with graduates' level of competence included the presence of a faculty champion and routine teaching by a dental professional or nondental OH expert.
Implications for practice:
With adequate OH education, NPs are ideally positioned to integrate OH and primary care services in practice, thereby, improving access to OH care.