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The role of the nurse in the care of mentally handicapped people is increasingly one of teaching and training using behavioural methods, as witnessed, for example, by the new RNMS syllabus. Methods of providing suitable training to equip staff for this changing role are discussed and it is concluded that an economic and effective method may be through locally organized in-service training. One particular in-service course — the education of the developmentally young course for mental handicap practitioners — is described and its applications in two health authorities in the UK are discussed.