Integrating Developmental Retardation Into the Nursing Curriculum

Ruth Elliott, NancY P. Forbes


A continuing responsibility of the nurse has been to care for the developmentally retarded child and the family. This service has taken place in the hospital, in a community setting and in the home, wherever health care and supervision have been needed. The ability of the nurse to understand the particular problems of these patients and to provide for a successful intervention depended largely upon his or her own ingenuity. Rarely was there any organized program to assist her in acquiring the appropriate skills and knowledge nor was there any systematic evaluation or follow-up of her activities in this specialized area.
Identifying The Problem
The pediatric nursing faculty at the University of British Columbia has felt very strongly that a more methodical approach to the organization and teaching of content relating to developmental retardation was needed. Such a program would benefit not only the student in her approach to the nursing care and guidance of these children and their families, but would also benefit the individuals directly.

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