Specific Core Nursing Content # 1: Growth and Development


Clinical Learning Outcomes

  • Demonstrate competent generalist assessment of the developmental needs of patients experiencing psychiatric disorders.
  • Recognize normative versus non-normative behavioral patterns in terms of developmental milestones.
  • Plan, implement and evaluate age appropriate care for patients with psychiatric disorders.


Teaching Strategies


Classroom Teaching Strategies

  • Review of Freud Stages of Emotional Development.
  • Review of Piaget Stages of Cognitive Development.
  • Review of Erikson Stages of Psychosocial Development.
  • Review Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.
  • Group presentations of major disorders related to a specific age group.

Clinical Teaching Strategies

  • Assessment of client should include age and developmental stage.
  • Group discussion of successful or unsuccessful achievement of developmental tasks, and effect on current mental health.

Assessment Tools

Use of Movies as Case Studies

  • Movies can be viewed in class or as an individual assignment. Easily available for rent or purchase. Students are likely familiar with media resources.
    • Back from Madness: The Struggle for Sanity (1996).  Documentary following four patients as they deal with their mental health condition. This is a good introduction to the field of psychiatry.  Full movie is currently available on YouTube.
    • We Need to Talk About Kevin (2011). Drama depicts development of a child with mental illness, who later commits a massacre in his high school.
    • Lars and the Real Girl (2007).  Movie about a community coming to accept the delusional behaviors of one of its residents.  (An updated version of the "Harvey" movie)
    • Iris (2001).  Movie chronicling the struggle of the writer Iris Murdoch and her family as she deals with Alzheimer's disease
    • Vertigo (1958).  Classic Hitchcock movie not known by modern students.  Complicated study of obsession, depression, delusional behavior, anxiety etc. Great homework exercise.

Simulation Exercises

  • Difficult to use mannequins for simulation in PMH unless it involves reaction to medication, changes in vital signs. Use of a Standardized Patient is recommended due to need for body language, behavior, and expression. Can use actors, faculty, or students for role play. Use of Standardized Scenarios is helpful.


Assessment strategies


Assignments with Rubrics

  • Construct a case study on non-normative behavioral patterns in a patient/client
  • Devise care plans for patients/clients from three different age groups [see appendix 1]

Reflection on Experience

  • Reflective journal or diary shared with clinical instructor as student progress through the clinical. Instructions and sample prompts [see appendix 2]
    • Example: Focus on the concept of “Self-control”. Students have to reflect each week on instances of self-control, or lack of self-control, they have witnessed in the clinical area that week. This may be from clients, staff members, family or themselves. 
  • Use of poetry to express emotional dimension of the learning experience.
  • Group meeting with students during post clinical to discuss 3 Domains of Learning in Blooms taxonomy – cognitive, psychomotor, affective

Clinical Skills Checklist

  • Developmental assessment of newly admitted patient/client. (Standard 1. Assessment)
  • Engages therapeutically with patient using developmentally appropriate verbal and non-verbal communication. (Standard 5. Implementation)
The American Psychiatric Nurses Association is accredited with distinction as a provider of continuing nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center's Commission on Accreditation.