Evaluating student learning outcomes in oral health knowledge and skills

Adrienne Lewis, Suzanne Edwards, Glenda Whiting, Frank Donnelly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Aims and objectives: To evaluate whether a set of oral health resources designed for workforce training was relevant for students undertaking an entry-level nursing or aged care qualification. Background: Oral health is one of the most neglected aspects of nursing care experienced by older people. Despite efforts to improve aged care worker oral health knowledge and skills, one-off training and rapid staff turnover have hindered the success of workplace programmes. Inadequate oral health content in entry-level nursing and aged care qualifications has perpetuated this. Design: Kirkpatrick's training and evaluation model was used to evaluate the resources developed by a project called Building Better Oral Health Communities. Students used them as prescribed study materials and completed pre- and postintervention questionnaires. Educators were interviewed to obtain their feedback. Quantitative data were analysed using descriptive and inferential statistics. Qualitative data were collated according to relevance to learning, presentation style and interest. Results: Evaluation showed high levels of student and educator satisfaction. Student learning outcomes demonstrated consistently positive attitudes and significant self-reported improvements in oral health knowledge and skills. Irrespective of course type, students gained similar levels of oral health knowledge and skills following use of the resources. Conclusion: Nurses and care workers must be able to provide consistent standards of oral health care as a fundamental part of caring for patients. Validated as an effective learning and teaching package, it is recommended that these resources be used to strengthen the oral health content of entry-level nursing and aged care qualifications. Relevance to clinical practice: Building the oral health capacity of nurses and care workers is one way of reversing oral health neglect and improving the quality of care provided to older people.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2438-2449
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Clinical Nursing
Issue number11-12
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • aged care
  • care worker training
  • fundamental care
  • nurse education
  • older people
  • oral health


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