Dental Hygiene ETDs

Publication Date

Fall 11-6-2018


Oral care is often dismissed or undervalued in the overall health and wellness of individuals and can be detrimental to patients in hospital-like settings. Although dental hygienists are educated to practice in alternative practice settings like pediatric offices, hospitals, nursing homes, schools and federally qualified health centers they are underutilized in such arenas. The purpose of this study is to learn about the University of New Mexico Hospital’s (UNMH) current oral hygiene care practices and protocols, nurses’ values and interests in inter-professional collaboration with a dental hygienist.

A feedback survey was created and intended recipients included all UNMH nurses regardless of specialty unit. However, this survey was disseminated to 240 UNMH Intensive Care Unit nurses. Of the 240 nurses only 28 (11.6%) opted to participate in this survey study. The result of this study revealed the majority of nurses: value oral hygiene care in themselves and in their patients; report their nursing education did prepare them in performing oral hygiene care on patients; interested in inter-professional collaboration with a dental provider like a dental hygienist.

Degree Name

Dental Hygiene

Level of Degree


Department Name

Dental Medicine

First Committee Member (Chair)

Christine Nathe RDH, MS

Second Committee Member

Christina Calleros RDH, MS

Third Committee Member

Lindsey Lee RDH, MS




oral care in hospital setting, dental hygiene, nursing, ICU

Document Type