Children’s knowledge of their internal anatomy



Paediatric nurses have an essential role to play in the health education of sick and healthy children. Health teaching is inseparable from both family advocacy and children’s rights. The Gillick judgement (Barnes, 1985) clarified the principle that parents have responsibility for their children rather than rights over them, and highlighted the concept of ‘sufficient understanding’ — that the child’s knowledge of what is happening and of the consequence of their choices is critical if children are to be involved in decisions and consent to treatment.


Internal Part Internal Anatomy Paediatric Nurse Body Outline Family Advocacy 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Badger T. A. and Jones E. (1990) ‘Deaf and hearing children’s conceptions of the body interior’, Pediatric Nursing 16 (2): 201–5.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Barnes A. (1985) ‘After Gillick–the implications for nursing’, Professional Nurse 1 (3): 79.Google Scholar
  3. Brumback R. A. (1977) ‘Characteristics of the inside-of-the-body test drawings performed by normal school children’, Perceptual and Motor Skills 44: 703–8.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Campbell S. and Glasper E. A. (1995) Whaley and Wong’s Children’s Nursing, London, C. V. Mosby.Google Scholar
  5. Cratty B. (1977) Perceptual and Motor Development in Infants and Children, New York, Macmillan.Google Scholar
  6. Dale S., Nader P. R. and Hymovich D. P. (1980) ‘Middle childhood’. In Hymovich D. P. and Chamberlin R. W. (eds) Child and Family Development: Implications for Primary Health Care, New York, McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  7. Denehey J. (1984) ‘What do school-age children know about their bodies?’, Pediatric Nursing 10 (4): 290–2.Google Scholar
  8. Department of Health (1991) An Introductory Guide for the Children Act, 1989, Lancashire, DoH.Google Scholar
  9. Department of Health (1996) The Patient’s Charter: Services for Children and Young People, London, HMSO.Google Scholar
  10. Eiser C. (1984) ‘Communicating with sick and hospitalised children’, Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 25 (2): 181–9.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Eiser C. and Patterson D. (1983) ‘“Slugs and snails and puppy-dog tails”–children’s ideas about the inside of their bodies’. Child: Care, Health and Development 9: 233–40.Google Scholar
  12. Gellert E. (1962) ‘Children’s conceptions of the content and functions of the human body’, Genetic Psychological Monographs 65: 293–411.Google Scholar
  13. Gibbons C. L. (1985) ‘Deaf children’s perceptions of internal body parts’, Maternal-Child Nursing Journal 14 (4): 37–46.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Kotchabhdaki P. (1985) ‘School-age children’s conceptions of the heart and its functions’ (Monograph 15), Maternal Child Nursing Journal 14: 203–69.Google Scholar
  15. Lieberman L. D., Clark N. M., Krone K. V., Orlandi M. A. and Wynder E. L. (1992) ‘The relationship between cognitive maturity and information about health problems among school age children’, Health Education Research 7 (3): 391–401.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. McEwing G. (1996) ‘Children’s understanding of their internal body parts’, British Journal of Nursing 5 (7): 423–9.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Nagy M. H. (1953) ‘Children’s conceptions of some bodily function’, Journal of Genetic Psychology 83: 199–216.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Piaget J. (1953) The Origins of Intelligence in Children, London, Routledge & Kegan Paul.Google Scholar
  19. Piaget J. and Inhelder B. (1969) The Psychology of the Child, New York, Basic Books.Google Scholar
  20. Pithers D. (1994) ‘Acting fair (Children Act, Advocacy)’, Nursing Times 90 (8): 32.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Polit D. F. and Hungler B. P. (1991) Nursing Research: Principles and Methods ( 4th edn ), Philadelphia, J. B. Lippincott.Google Scholar
  22. Porter C. S. (1974) ‘Grade school children’s perceptions of their internal body parts’, Nursing Research 23 (5): 384–91.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Quiggin V. (1977) ‘Children’s knowledge of their internal body parts’, Nursing Times 28: 1146–51.Google Scholar
  24. Schilder P. and Wechsler D. (1935) ‘What do children know about the interior of the body?’, International Journal of Psychoanalysis 6: 355–60.Google Scholar
  25. Smith E. C. (1977) ‘Are you really communicating?’ American Journal of Nursing Dec.: 1966–68.Google Scholar
  26. Tait C. D. Jr. and Ascher R. C. (1955) ‘Inside-the-body-test’, Psychosomatic Medicine 17 (2): 139–48.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. Vessey J. A. (1988) ‘A comparison of two teaching methods on children’s knowledge of their internal bodies’, Nursing Research 37 (5): 262–7.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. Vessey J. A., Braithwaite K. B. and Wiedermann M. (1990) ‘Teaching children about their internal bodies’, Paediatric Nursing 16 (1): 29–33.Google Scholar
  29. Vygotsky L. S. (1978) Mind in Society, Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press.Google Scholar

Further reading

  1. Eiser C., Patterson D. and Eiser J. R. (1983) ‘Children’s knowledge of health and illness: implications for health education’, Child: Care, Health and Development 9: 285–92.Google Scholar
  2. Hall D. (1991) Health for All Children: Report of the Third Working Party on Child Health Surveillance, Oxford, Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Thompson S. W. (1991) ‘Communication techniques for allaying anxiety and providing support for hospitalised children’, Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 4 (3): 119–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Webber I. (1995) ‘Reaction of the family and child to illness and hospitalisation’. In Campbell S. and Glasper A. (eds) Whaley and Wong’s Children’s Nursing, London, C. V. Mosby.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Editor(s) 2000

Authors and Affiliations

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations