Blood pressure and blood sugar assessment by recent dental school graduates

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Abstract

Objective.

Recent dental school graduates' willingness to assess blood pressure and blood sugar in practice is positively influenced by having a workplace policy fostering these assessments. Negative influences toward these assessments include practice culture issues and time management concerns. The aim of this study was to determine whether 2010–2014 graduates of the School of Dental Medicine at Buffalo, NY (UB-SDM) continue to assess blood pressure and capillary blood sugar after graduation.

Study Design.

Starting in 2010, UB-SDM predoctoral students were required to assess blood pressure (BP) on all patients and capillary blood sugar (CBS) on all patients with diabetes at every clinic appointment. UB-SDM graduates from 2010–2014 were sent an anonymous survey consisting of 34 questions to determine whether these assessments continue after graduation. The survey consisted of BP and CBS assessment parameters, including benefits and barriers to assessments.

Results.

Although UB-SDM graduates generally assessed BP (77%) and CBS (23%), most did not follow the school's strict educational policies when providing these services. Dental practice policies mandating BP and CBS assessments were positively correlated with UB-SDM graduates' actually providing these services. Lack of time and poor practice support were cited as negative factors toward BP and CBS assessments.

Conclusions.

Disparities between UB-SDM educational efforts and entrenched dental practice cultures must be addressed in order for our graduates to fully embrace BP and CBS assessments in practice.

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