Date of Award

2014

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS) in Dental Hygiene

Department

Dental Hygiene

First Advisor

Prof. Ann O'Kelley Wetmore

Second Advisor

Prof. Rebecca Stolberg

Third Advisor

Dr. Barbara Richardson

Abstract

Purpose: Interprofessional education (IPE) provides academic experiences for students to learn about different professions, their roles, and improving attitudes toward communications between professions with the intent of improving patient overall healthcare. This study evaluated the impact of IPE and knowledge the students gained on oral healthcare for cancer patients.

Methods: This quasi-experimental study used a convenient sample of nursing and dental hygiene students. Participants were given a pre and post survey to collect quantitative data that included a Readiness for Interprofessional Survey (RIPLS) and a PI-designed multiple-choice survey to determine students’ attitudes and learning. A module of IPE and oral cancer care was provided for the students. A case study was presented and students were allowed time to work in preselected mixed groups to design patient care addressing the multiple oral complication a cancer patient can experience. Anecdotal data was collected via student comments.

Results: Study results demonstrated an improvement in participant’s knowledge of oral care for cancer patients’ oral complications, attitudes towards interprofessional communications, and understanding of professional roles.

Conclusion: The implementation of an IPE experience demonstrated a correlation between an IPE experience and participant’s attitudes and learning. Patients undergoing cancer treatment will experience some form of oral complications. Preparing students to meet the needs of the cancer patient’s oral health will ultimately decrease oral complications and patient mortality.

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