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Writing Center's Guide to Academic Writing for Health Sciences

A LibGuide created for KUMC students and faculty that explores academic writing best practices and tips


Kind acknowledgements are given to the following:

La Trobe University - Learning & Research Services (Library), and Dr. Julianne East for permission to use content from their guide.

Sample essay plan

Essay task:

Critically analyse the role of the MCH nurse in the care of a child with a diagnosed developmental delay other than autism.  Your analysis should be supported by relevant literature and should include working in partnership with the family.

Essay questions / paraphrase: What is the role of the MCH nurse following the diagnosis of developmental delay? What is the impact of development delay? How can and why would the MCH nurse work in partnership with the family? What is reported in the literature?

Main purpose / point of the essay

In the context of the impact on the family, this essay explores the question of what happens following a diagnosis of developmental delay. MCH nursing practice has a role to play in supporting families beyond the diagnosis.


Developmental delay

Roles of the MCHN


Mares, Newman, & Warren, 2005, p. 20, 97; Thurgate, 2005a, p.14;Thurgate, 2005b, p.37;

DEECD, 2010b





Topic:  Initial impact on the whole family

The diagnosis of developmental delay can result in a wide range of reactions from family members.

· Some families stressed, some thrive

· Impact -> intense emotions

· Diagnosis a crisis time

· Every aspect of family life affected

· Important to empower family

·  How family treated at time of child’s initial diagnosis has long term impacts

·  Health professionals can give framework of optimism

Head & Abbeduto 2007, p. 293

DCDR, 2008, p.13

Sen & Yurtsever, 2006, p.239

Bailey, 2007, p.291

Blann, 2005, p. 265

DEECD, 2010a, p.27


Kearney & Griffin, 2001, p.589

The context in which the diagnosis was made can impact on the role of the MCHN and possible relationship with the family.


·  Families will have ongoing appointments with manypractitioners

· Problems with poorly co-ordinated, and contradictory advice

  Existing relationship or not before diagnosis

Mares et al., 2005, p. 105


DEECD, 2010a, p.28

Topic:  Ongoing needs of the child

Children with developmental delay can have the same basic needs as all children, but they also have particular needs

·  Parents’ grief can affect establishment of the attachment relationship

·  Complex educational and child care needs
list of needs eg language

·   Behavioural problems

Mares et al., 2005, pp 97-8


Reichman, Corman & Noonan, 2008, p. 680
DCDR, 2008, p.11

Baker, Blacher & Olsson, 2005, p.587

The MCHN will need to look beyond children’s basic needs.


·   MCHN can provide anticipatory guidance

·   Limits of the Key Ages and Stages

DEECD, 2010b


Topic: Ongoing needs of the family and the ripple effect on siblings and extended family

The impact on the siblings of children with developmental delay should not be overlooked.

·    Effects on families include stress, parenting discrepancies, negative reactions from extended family, difficulty with school interactions…

·     Can lead to social isolation

·     List areas siblings need support

·     For some siblings, care of the child may become lifelong

Dyson, 2010, p.43



Thurgate, 2005b, p.40

McCullough & Simon, 2011, p.320-321

Reichman et al., 2008, p. 680

The MCHN can support family members to develop responsive and positive relationships with their child with developmental delay from as early age as possible

·     Promote resilience

·     Make opportunities for parents and siblings to share feelings

·     Answer questions, reassure…

·     Recommend, refer…

DEECD, 2011


DCDR, 2008, pp 13 - 18

Topic: Costs to the family

Topic: Working together - from expert to partnership model

Topic: Moving forward as a family


When they need to share and be heard, the MCHN may be the only person that mothers and families can go to, and as such, this is a vital role in the health and wellbeing of the family.