The demand for nurses, physician assistants and other healthcare providers with genetic and genomic competency is outpacing educators' ability to provide training. To support genetic and genomic training in healthcare professional education programs, Jean Jenkins, Ph.D., R.N., F.A.A.N., National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), and Kathleen Calzone, Ph.D., R.N., A.P.N.G., F.A.A.N., National Cancer Institute (NCI), have coordinated the launch of a series of articles that highlight the importance of genetics and genomics for nurse educators and nursing education worldwide. Genetics/Genomics and Nursing Education, a special series of one editorial and five articles, will appear free in the Journal of Nursing Scholarship throughout 2011.
"There's been a gap in the education materials for genetic and genomic competencies for nurses and physician assistants," Dr. Jenkins said. "Many educators have not had genetics and genomics preparation, so when they're asked to teach the content in the curriculum, they need help to begin."
The new series of articles offers solutions to this problem by providing a framework and resources for teaching the next generation of nurses. The series includes:
"All nurses need baseline training in genetics and genomics," Calzone said. "Personalized health care has the potential to improve outcomes if we use it effectively."
Essential competencies, which define the minimum genetic/genomic competency expected of every nurse regardless of their academic preparation, clinical role or specialty, were endorsed by 49 nursing organizations. They appear in the 2008 document, The Essentials of Genetic and Genomic Nursing: Competencies, Curricula Guidelines and Outcome Indicators 2nd Edition.
In addition to the nursing educator series, Jenkins, Calzone and others have created an online clearinghouse where faculty can find peer-reviewed genetics and genomics education resources for nurses, physician assistants and genetic counselors at G2C2, the Genetics and Genomics Competencies Center [g-2-c-2.org]. NHGRI also provides Competency and Curricular Resources, including essential competencies, practice guidelines and curricular resources in genetics and genomics for different health professions.
"Nurses work at the intersection between the present and the future in our quest to understand and intervene in the genomic health of individuals, families, communities and populations," wrote Drs. Jenkins, Geraldine Bednash and Beverly Malone in the series' editorial. "The complexity of genomic information and our ability to interpret it are challenging current resources and there is no sign of any slowing. The nursing community must shift into a different proactive gear." This series will offer nurse educators solutions to meet that challenge.
Last Updated: May 1, 2012