ICDP for public health nurses

Public health nurses in Norway make active use of the ICDP parental guidance programme in their practice.

A report of peer reviewed research on ICDP effects is now available in English - click here to read it.


Background: Positive interaction between children and their caregivers is essential for children’s development. Norwegian health policies emphasise the role of child health centres in improving such interaction. It is therefore crucial that public health nurses have expertise in promoting positive interaction.

Objective: To investigate public health nurses’ experiences with using the skills they gained from their training in the parental guidance programme known as the International Child Development Programme (ICDP) during their continuing education in nursing.

Method: The study is qualitative and based on seven semi-structured, individual interviews with public health nurses who have been trained in the programme, but who only apply parts of the programme in their work at the child health centres. We analysed the data using content analysis inspired by hermeneutic interpretation and text condensation.

Results: The participants appear to use the ICDP in consultations, both as a conceptual framework for interaction and as a tool in their observation, communication, guidance and documentation.

The experiences of the public health nurses can be summarised in three main categories:
- The ICDP has provided the public health nurses with a useful conceptual framework.
- The public health nurses put emphasis on enhancing the parents’ perception of their own competence.
- The public health nurses focus on the parents’ ability to see and understand their child.

Conclusion: When the public health nurses do not implement the ICDP in the form of structured group meetings over an eight-week period, they still apply the knowledge and way of thinking from the programme in their communication and guidance when observing children and parents.