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Training community nurses on supporting families with children who have developmental difficulties: lessons from the former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia

Roy McConkey (Emeritus Professor, of Developmental Disabilities, University of Ulster, Newtownabbey, UK; a Visiting Professor, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa; a Visiting Professor, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia and a Visiting Professor, Trinity College, University of Dublin, Dublin, Ireland)
Sue Macdonald (Consultant, based at University of Ulster, Newtownabbey, UK (formerly Royal College of Midwives, London, UK))
Marlene Sinclair (Professor, of Midwifery Research, University of Ulster, Newtownabbey, UK)
Igor Veljkovik (Health Officer, based at UNICEF, Skopje, Macedonia)

Advances in Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities

ISSN: 2044-1282

Article publication date: 28 October 2014




In the former Yugoslavian republics, community nursing services are not well developed to support families with infants who have developmental problems. The purpose of this paper is to design an in-service training package for nurses on supporting families of children with developmental disabilities.


A conceptual framework evolved to guide the design and content of the training package which was further consulted on with local partners. A cascade model of training was adopted, based largely on experiential learning. A nine-session training package (around 20 hours in all) was devised and a Training for Trainers workshop held to prepare them to use the package in their locality. The in-service training of nurses is ongoing during 2014-2015.


Key findings are presented in relation to perceived training needs; the key features of the Training Framework; the content and teaching methods used and the outcomes of the Training for Trainers workshop. Ongoing evaluations will assess the impact of the training on community nurses and on families.


This study provides a conceptual model for the provision of effective in-service training on developmental disabilities for community personnel throughout the region and internationally.



This project was funded by UNICEF Macedonia. The authors’ grateful thanks to all the participants in Macedonia for their insights and to Velka Lukic from the Macedonia Association of Nurses and Midwifes for her guidance. The authors’ partners in Studiorum, Skopje gave invaluable assistance with translation and interpretation; especially Neda Milevska and Kornelija Cipuseva.


McConkey, R., Macdonald, S., Sinclair, M. and Veljkovik, I. (2014), "Training community nurses on supporting families with children who have developmental difficulties: lessons from the former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia", Advances in Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities, Vol. 8 No. 6, pp. 370-380.



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Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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