Integrating Genomics into Nursing Education

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Ann H. Maradiegue, PhD, MSN, BSN
School of Nursing & Health Professions, Trinity Washington University, Washington, DC
Quannetta T. Edwards, PhD, RN, FNP, WHNP, FAANP
College of Graduate Nursing, Western University, Pomona, CA

Purpose: To provide nursing faculty with strategies and resources to be able to integrate genomic information into their existing curriculum.

Evidence: Nurses must be knowledgeable in the current scientific discoveries related to health care in order to practice effectively. Recent genomic advances include novel drug therapies, more nuanced reproductive counselling and reproductive options, enhanced risk assessment, and expanded clinical laboratory testing. Genomic discoveries are expected to transform future health care and nurses are ‘key’ to this transformation. As the largest healthcare discipline, nurses are in the position to educate, care for and manage individuals and families with genetic/genomic disorders in primary and acute care settings, as well as in the community. Preparing nurses for this future transformation is in the hands of educators. Nurse leaders from around the globe have developed genetic/genomic competencies to enhance the education of nurses. Although many countries require nursing programs to include genetic/genomic content in nursing education, studies have revealed that the level of content in this subject are low or absent in nursing curriculum, even though nurses are open to genetics/genomic education that applies the scientific principles to practice.

 Nursing faculty continue to have low comfort and knowledge levels with teaching genetics/genomics content. More training is warranted for nursing faculty so they are knowledgeable and comfortable with genetic/genomic topics to prepare future generations of nurses to address the public’s health, and to be comfortable with advanced technologies. The shift to precision health care makes it clear that genomics must be fully integrated into nursing curricula.

Methods: Strategies for integration of content into undergraduate and graduate programs will be presented, with examples and case studies. A list of tools, web sites, books and articles will be made available.