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Strategies for Nurses to Influence Early Childhood Development

Wednesday, August 21, 2019  
Posted by: Brandon Dominguez, MSN, RN, CHEP
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According to the California Health Care Almanac (2013), 1 in 13 Californian children suffer from a mental illness that limits participation in daily activities. Not all children are exposed to the same stressors or develop healthy defense mechanisms and coping skills to process stress. An effective method to indirectly and directly influence early childhood development (ECD) is through exposure prevention and education (Mikton, MacmIllan, Dua, & Betancourt, 2014). Goals associated with education and prevention include reducing childhood mortality, preventing developmental delay, enhancing social capital, and improving gender relations. Nurses are in a unique position to meet these needs for California’s children.

A primary prevention intervention strategy in ECD is pre-primary education. Children can demonstrate improved emotional literacy and coping skill development through traditional public education (Unwin, Kroese & Blumson, 2018). A study by Piper, Merseth, & Ngaruiya (2018) found that successful implementations of these types of educational programs must primarily focus on resource allocation. Nurses in leadership positions can address these needs by writing for grants, understanding and managing healthcare systems, and providing change leadership.

 However, implementing change may be difficult for organizations that operate on a strict budget. Writing a grant proposal is an excellent avenue to secure the financial resources needed to make a difference. GrantWatch is a company that encourages government agencies, foundations, and corporations to post their funding opportunities to improve their global visibility. At the time of this writing, there are over 200 grants available specifically for California organizations with a focus on health and medical (GrantWatch, 2019).

Some may find writing a grant proposal to be a daunting task. Interestingly enough, there is an equal distribution of grant proposers who are educated formally and informally about the writing process (Shuman, 2019). Nursing leaders can shape their ideas and writing process according to the Standards for Quality Improvement Reporting Excellence (SQUIRE) guidelines. The SQUIRE guidelines provide a framework for reporting new knowledge about the safety, quality, and value of healthcare. The SQUIRE organization has many resources available on their website that include examples, publications, and other improvement tools.

The journey to improve the current state of health in California will not be realized without the initiative of healthcare leaders. Pursuing grant opportunities, through resources such as GrantWatch, can provide financial support for implementing complex projects. Health care leaders need to continue to push for implementing evidence-based practices. Change starts with an idea and the repercussions are positively life altering.



California Grants - GrantWatch. (2019). Retrieved July 6, 2019, from

California Health Care Foundation. (2013). California Health Care Almanac- Mental Health Care in California: Painting a Picture [PDF file]. Retrieved from

Gemma L. Unwin, Biza Stenfert Kroese, & Jessica Blumson. (2018). An Evaluation of a Mental Health Promotion Programme to Improve Emotional, Social and Coping Skills in Children and Young People Attending Special Schools. Frontiers in Education.

Mikton, C., MacMillan, H., Dua, T., & Betancourt, T. S. (2014). Integration of prevention of

violence against children and early child development Integration of prevention of violence against children and early child development. The Lancet Global Health2(8), e442-e443.

Shuman, K. M. (2019). Grant Proposal Preparation Readiness: A Glimpse at the Education Levelof Higher Education Faculty. Journal of Research Administration50(1), 89–107. Retrieved from

SQUIRE 2.0 Guidelines. (n.d.). Retrieved from

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