Bulletin of Dental Education

IU Dental and Nursing Students Share Interprofessional Clinical Experience

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The students from Indiana University Schools of Dentistry (IUSD) and Nursing (IUSON) are collaborating to improve health care for children. In 2017, the pediatric nurse practitioner (PNP) students worked with dental students to measure and analyze children’s blood pressure (BP) and body mass index (BMI) and conduct oral examinations in a planned simulation situation. This pilot experience was very beneficial for both groups of students. As a result, the faculty moved forward to incorporate this interprofessional education (IPE) experience into the curriculum for both groups of students. 

This year, the PNP students are working with dental students on children presenting to the IUSD pediatric clinic. The dental students are learning how important it is to analyze the child’s BP and BMI and discuss the relationship of weight to overall health with the parents. At the same time, the PNP students are learning the relationship between proper oral health care, healthy eating, weight and dental disease. Dental caries begins early in a child’s life if the child has poor eating habits and insufficient oral hygiene. Learning the relationship between oral and systemic health will positively impact the care they give to their future patients. 

Students are grateful for this opportunity and feel it enhances their education and the patient experience. A nursing student shares, “the dental student and I discussed the importance of continued IPE and collaboration that can greatly enhance the overall health of our patients.” 

Faculty members Joan Kowolik, B.D.S., LDS, RCS Edin., of IUSD and Kathleen Kent, D.N.P., RN, CPNP, of IUSON are working on the next phase to increase this experience to more students. 

Courtesy of Dr. Joan Kowolik, Associate Professor, Director Predoctoral Pediatric Dentistry, Indiana University School of Dentistry

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