The Chronicle of a Nurses Journey to Translate New Science into Practice: Genetics and Genomics

Sunday, 8 November 2015: 11:20 AM

Beth Harkness, BSN, RN, CPN
Pulmonary Medicine & Cystic Fibrosis Center, Children's National Health System, Washington, DC, USA

Genomics is “personalized healthcare” in action.  Understanding genomics is essential for all clinical nurses and nurse leaders.  However, most nurses have limited knowledge of genetics/genomics, how it translates into their practice or the Essentials of Genetic and Genomic Nursing Competencies.1

Genomic competencies include family history assessment, understanding targeted therapies, and assessing variability in patients’ responses to medications based upon genomic profiles.  Perspectives of the nurse champion will be offered and the various strategies that were implemented for introducing genomics to clinical nurses in a 300-bed mid-Atlantic pediatric Magnet®  health care system which employs approximately 2000 nurses.  This institution was selected to participate in “Method for Introducing New Competencies (MINC)” study.  

A transformative nursing practice approach was established with collaboration amongst targeted leadership champions in administration, nursing, genetics and experts in the community.

A multi-modality communication/education program was developed based on Everett Rogers’s Diffusion of Innovations Theory.2Genomic competencies were selected with an emphasis on genomic relevancy

Aligned with the Centers for Disease Control Public Health Genomics3themes and specialty specific diseases as a framework.  

The approach culminated into a pervasive knowledge-based strategy that incorporated interactive continuing education offerings, advanced practice nurse-led rounds, interprofessional collaboration, and family history tools. Educational advertising juggernaut campaigns with tag-lined genomic messages were used to intensify interest, awareness and relevancy. 

Program outcome achievements; increased awareness, knowledge and translation into practice.  Outcomes were measured using baseline and post-project statistics from the Genetics and Genomics in Nursing Practice Survey and evaluation of individual hospital educational offerings and action plans.  Learner satisfaction scores following each educational offering were consistently greater than 85%.  

The achievements of the interventions translated into practice through the collaboration with the genetic molecular biologists and genetic counselors that lead to expanded genetic testing and support capabilities in the health care system, development of guidelines for nurse initiated genetic referrals, and the adoption of a Family History Tool into practice.    

The goal of sharing these experiences, barriers, successes, and recommendations of this healthcare systems approach is to aid others introduce “new (genomic) knowledge” because the future is now.

Overview:  Describe the implementation and evaluation of a National Council of State Boards of Nursing funded genomic literacy and competency program. “Method for Introducing New Competencies (MINC)” study. Present the challenges, successes, and recommendations for introducing genomics to clinical nurses and nursing leadership in pediatrics.