June 2008

Volume 25, Issue 2

Duties and training of dental nurses: How do Irish practices conform to European standards?

Authors: K. Neville R.J. McConnell M.T. O’Byrne C.D. Lynch
doi: 10.1922/CDH_2090Lynch05


Aim The dental nurse is a key member of the dental team, having an important role in the delivery of oral healthcare. Despite this, there is considerable variation throughout Europe in relation to the level of training, permitted duties, and statutory registration of dental nurses. The purpose of this paper is to describe the opinions and attitudes of dental nurses to their roles and suitability of training in one European member state, Ireland, where statutory registration has recently been introduced. Method A postal questionnaire was sent to 150 dental practitioners selected from the Irish Register of Dentists. The dentists were asked to distribute questionnaire to dental nurse(s) working in their practice. Information sought from the dental nurses included their employment setting, the nature of their employment, their level of training, additional qualifications held, their views on the key duties and responsibilities of a dental nurse, and the appropriate duration and content of a dental nurse training programme. Results Replies were received from 96 dental nurses (response rate=64%). Fifty-five percent of respondents (n=53) were employed in private practice, 39% (n=37) were employed in the Health Board Dental Service, and 6% (n=6) were employed in a dental hospital. Two thirds of respondents (n=62) had been employed as dental nurses for more than five years. Eighty-six percent of respondents (n=83) were in full-time employment. Seventy-three percent of respondents (n=70) held a recognised dental nurse qualification. Sixty-five percent of respondents (n=70) who held a dental nurse qualification felt that the appropriate duration of a dental nurse training programme was one year or less. Thirty-two percent of respondents (n=30) had completed additional training in practice management, administration or computer skills. Ninety-five percent of respondents (n=91) were interested in attending continuing education courses. Eighty-five percent of respondents (n= 82) felt that assistance at the administration of local anaesthetics was a key duty/responsibility for dental nurses, while only 20% of respondents (n=19) felt that infection control procedures was a key duty. Conclusions Within the group of dental nurses surveyed, there was a lack of clarity surrounding their perception of their key duties. This could present challenges to the effective delivery of oral healthcare regimens within Ireland. Further investigation of this situation in other European countries is indicated. Key words: Dental nurse, dentistry, education, training, healthcare systems


Other articles in this issue

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Editorial - Do we let children’s teeth decay just because some people object to topping up the natural fluoride that’s already in our water? 66-69 Download
Correlates of dental caries in 12-year-old children in Europe: a cross-sectional analysis 70-78 Download
Dental caries rates in primary teeth in 2002, and caries surveillance trends 1981-2002, in a South African city. 79-83 Download
Individual and maternal determinants of self–reported dental health among Turkish school children aged 10-12 years. 84-88 Download
Prediction of periodontal pathology around third molars using linear mixed effects modeling 89-97 Download
Duties and training of dental nurses: How do Irish practices conform to European standards? 98-102 Download
Comparison of ranking dental status using the Significant Caries Index and the Significant Filled and Sound-Teeth Index 103-106 Download
Measuring oral health behaviour in Flemish health care workers: an application of the Theory of Planned Behaviour 107-114 Download
The influence of early counselling on weaning from a bottle 115-118 Download
Prevalence and severity of dental caries in schoolchildren of Porto, Portugal 119-125 Download
Short Communication - Orthodontic treatment need in Nigerian children 126-128 Download


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