Recommendations for educating nurses in genetics

J. F. Jenkins
C. Prows
E. Dimond
R. Monsen
Janet K. Williams, University of Iowa


With the ongoing and increasingly rapid pace of genetic discoveries, nurses must be able to incorporate genetic knowledge into their everyday practices of promoting the genetic health of individuals, families, and communities. Although development of genetic health knowledge is in its infancy, nurses are currently expected to integrate information about genetic risks, testing, and treatments for clients throughout the clients' entire lifespan. All nurses must have an understanding of the relationship between genetics and health to appropriately identify and address genetic concerns in their clients. To fulfill these roles, nurses need to improve their knowledge base in genetics. This article provides recommendations for genetics curriculum in continuing and entry-level nursing education programs. These recommendations are outcomes of a research project involving genetics nurse experts as well as nurses new to the area of genetics, and a consensus workshop of nursing faculty involved in curriculum changes subsequent to an intensive genetics continuing education program. Nursing educators are beginning to recognize the importance of education of all nurses about genetics. If, however, all educators do not accept this responsibility, nurses will be left behind in designing and offering health care for the 21st century.