Intellectual disability content within pre-registration nursing curriculum: How is it taught?

Julian N. Trollor, Claire Eagleson, Beth Turner, Carmela Salomon, Andrew Cashin, Teresa Iacono, Linda Goddard, Nicholas Lennox

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Despite experiencing higher rates of physical and mental health conditions compared with the general population, people with intellectual disability face inequitable access to healthcare services. Improving education of healthcare professionals is one way to reduce these inequalities. Objective: To determine how intellectual disability content is taught within Australian nursing schools. Design: A two-phase audit of Australian nursing curricula content was conducted using an interview and online survey. Setting: Nursing schools Australia-wide providing pre-registration courses. Participants: For Phase 1, course coordinators from 31 nursing schools completed an interview on course structure. Teaching staff from 15 schools in which intellectual disability content was identified completed an online survey for Phase 2. Methods: Methods used to teach intellectual disability content and who taught the content were audited using an online survey. Results: Across the 15 schools offering intellectual disability content, lectures were the most common teaching method (82% of units), followed by tutorials (59%), workshops (26%), then other methods (e.g. e-learning; 12%). Approximately three-quarters of intellectual disability teaching used some problem-and/or enquiry-based learning. Only one nursing school involved a person with intellectual disability in delivering teaching content. Six (19%) participating schools identified staff who specialise in intellectual disability, and seven (23%) identified staff with a declared interest in the area. Conclusion: While some nursing schools are using diverse methods to teach intellectual disability content, many are not; as a result, nursing students may miss out on acquiring the attributes which enable them to address the significant health inequalities faced by this group. A specific deficit was identified relating to inclusive teaching and clinical contact with people with intellectual disability.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-52
Number of pages5
JournalNurse Education Today
Early online date07 Jul 2018
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2018


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