Applications of Genetics in Nursing Practice
Nursing practice in genetics-related health care blends the prin-ciples of human genetics with nursing care in collaboration with other professionals, including genetics specialists, to foster health improvement, maintenance, and restoration. In any practice set-ting, nurses will carry out five main activities in genetics-related nursing practice: help collect and interpret relevant family and medical histories; identify patients and families who need further genetic evaluation and counseling and refer them to appropriate genetics services; offer genetics information and resources to pa-tients and families; collaborate with genetics specialists; and par-ticipate in the management and coordination of care of patients with genetic conditions. Genetics-related nursing practice in-cludes the care of patients who have genetics conditions, persons who may be predisposed to develop or pass on genetic conditions, and persons who are seeking genetics information and referral for additional genetics services (Lea, Williams, Jenkins, et al., 2000).
Nurses support patients and families with genetics-related health concerns by ensuring that their health choices are informed ones and by advocating for the privacy and confidentiality of ge-netics information and for equal access to genetic testing and treatments. The Scope and Standards of Genetics Clinical NursingPractice, developed by the International Society of Nurses inGenetics (ISONG, 1998) and published by the American Nurses Association, delineates roles and responsibilities for nurses in pro-viding genetics health care.
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