Nurses' Self-Assessment of Genetic Related Activities in Hospice and Palliative Nursing in the United States

Tuesday, 19 November 2013: 10:40 AM

Barbara M. Raudonis, PhD, RN, FNGNA, FPCN
Denise Cauble, BSN
College of Nursing, University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, TX

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to discuss the rationale for including genetic/genomic related activities in palliative nursing care.

Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to discuss the barriers to integrating genetics/genomics into hospice and palliative care nursing practice.

Ongoing technological advances and genomic discoveries are expanding our understanding of common complex conditions such as heart disease and cancer. These achievements require that health care professionals recognize that a genomic component underlies almost all disease. This means that hospice and palliative care nurses are already taking care of patients with a genomic component to their conditions. Though clinical benefits of these genomic discoveries have yet to reach their full potential, hospice nurses need to understand genomics in order to make appropriate clinical applications of this evolving knowledge. A British survey of 400 hospice nurses found that although the majority of respondents believed genetic-related activities were important to hospice care, they lacked confidence in their ability to carry out those activities. To date there are no published studies exploring genetic-related activities in palliative care with American hospice and palliative care nurses. We conducted a national randomized survey of members of the Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association (HPNA) to explore the current state of genetic and genomic related activities in palliative care in the United States. Seventy-one members of HPNA completed a computerized version of the Nurse’s Self-Assessment of Genetics in Practice Inventory (NSGPI). Cronbach alpha reliability scores of the six NSGPI subscales ranged from 0.768 to 0.835. Our participants believed that the clinical and biological categories of genetic-related activities were important but they lacked confidence in carrying out those activities. The respondents rated the psychosocial related genetic activities such as maintaining confidentiality of information as more important and were more confident in carrying them out. Therefore, better genetic education is needed for nurses at all levels of academic preparation and specialties, including hospice and palliative care nurses so that all nurses can meet the needs of patients and families experiencing inherited genetic conditions as well as those with complex conditions.