To investigate the oral healthcare training in the education of auxiliary nurses in Norway.
Many elderly residents need assistance in every aspect of daily living, including help with oral care. Auxiliary nurses are the professional group who most often provide this help.
An e-mail administered questionnaire was sent to all 164 high schools in Norway offering basic education for auxiliary nurse.
Of the 114 high schools responding to the survey (69.5% response rate), 83.3% reported mandatory courses, 49.1% offered three or more hours of teaching in oral health care. 89.5% offered both lectures and practical training, 93.9% had training in tooth cleaning, 37.7% lectured about different dental restorations, 50% lectured on ergonomic working positions, 12.3% on the working lights, 16.7% on inspection techniques, 25.4% on interdental brushes and 6.1% on electrical powered toothbrushes. Additionally, 45.6% assessed that their students are prepared for later work with oral health care. More lessons led to better quality of education.
Almost all of the high schools had mandatory education in oral care in the auxiliary nurse programme. Increasing the number of lessons may improve the quality of knowledge, but the teaching programmes for a number of topics seem insufficient. There is a need to strengthen the position of oral health in the education of auxiliary nurses. To meet the future challenges in oral health, international or national expert-developed guidelines for oral care training programmes would be useful for the education of auxiliary nurses.