By virtue of their access to infants and their families, community nurses in South Africa are
provided with an important window of opportunity to assess and positively influence infant
health and development. Hence, developmental surveillance should be incorporated into the
ongoing healthcare of the child. Such routine child development services are not consistently
provided by community nurses and if at all these services are provided, significant inadequacies
hamper the delivery thereof. A single holistic case study design was used to explore the
perceptions of caregivers and community nurses about the responsibilities of community nurses
regarding the management of infant developmental needs in a primary healthcare clinic in one of
the provinces in South Africa. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with five nurses and
eleven caregivers of infants. Data were analysed by means of content analysis. Community
nurses do not focus adequately on infant development, as stipulated in their scope of practice.
The caregivers indicated that they receive limited emotional and appraisal support. The only
interventions indicated by the community nurses were that of referral and limited anticipatory
guidance. This study highlights the importance of community nurses living up to their
responsibility regarding the management of infant developmental needs to ensure optimal
outcomes for both the infant and the family.