Genetic Studies In Health Care and Nursing Role

Afza.Malik GDA

Nursing Role and Nursing Genetic Studies

Genetic Studies In Health Care and Nursing Role

Advent of Genetic Study in Health Care Genetic Studies and Nursing

Advent of Genetic Study in Health Care

    The genomic era of health care began in April, 2003, with the completion of the sequencing of the human genome. The Human Genome uses four proteins: adenosine, cytosine, guanine, and thymine that replicate indefinitely. This double helix is the basis of DNA and, along with RNA, which substitutes uracil for thymine, makes up approximately 20 different amino acids. 

    These proteins constitute just about everything in the body. It is these coded scripts that determine the entire life of an individual (Guttmacher & Collins, 2002). Clinicians can now determine if people will have certain genetic conditions in utero and hereditary conditions can actually be predicted using Mendelian Inheritance Theory. 

    Nurses are understanding the significance of how using the correct questions regarding genetic history during patient admission assessments will assist in preparing a customized treatment and health promotion plan for each patient (Lea, 2003).

Genetic Studies and Nursing

Genetic research by nurses is in the infancy stage. Recently multiple opportunities for nurse scientists to conduct biological and behavioral studies in genetics, either individually or in multidisciplinary teams, have become available. 

    The National Institutes of Health (NIH) guide: Opportunities in genetics and nursing research (NIH, 1997) identified the following topics regarding genetics in need of research: holistic and community approaches, role of biopsychosocial factors in health and illness, managing and diagnosing cardinal symptoms of chronic conditions, cognitive decision making and learning skills, family education and counseling, risk behavior symptoms and reduction, and health promotion. 

    Genetics offers nursing multiple research opportunities relating to biological and behavioral studies that could advance nursing science. 

    Nurse clinicians need more research based evidence to impact practice in every area, especially pharmacology, the neurological and immune systems, genetic testing and screening, and health promotion strategies.

    Nurse educators must study curriculum program outcomes to ensure that Core Competencies in Genetics (National Coalition for Health Professional Education in Genetics [NCHPEG), 2001) are included.

    The National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR) and the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) offer support to nurse scientists studying the clinical implications of human genetics research. 

    Cashion (2002), a nurse faculty member at the University of Tennessee, is studying the effects of genetics and environment on disorders such as obesity, diabetes mellitus, and transplantation. 

    Her study, Genetic Markers of Acute Pancreas Allograft Rejection, is funded by NINR and focuses on identifying patients who might experience rejection given their genetic makeup prior to actually manifesting the symptoms. 

    One study about the use of genetic testing (Giarelli, 2003) generated important clinical relevance regarding patients' perceptions that they had gained significant health knowledge about either their own or a family member's genetic illness or predisposition.

    Nurses need to become more involved in researching ways to promote health and decrease disease by using genetics, study ethical and legal concerns of genetic health, and become involved in advocating for people with genetic risk factors. 

    Also they should participate in developing based protocols for identifying genetic risk factors to delay or prevent the evidence onset of chronic illness, and develop methods to positively impact patient and families involved in decisions influenced by genetic conditions by disseminating important information regarding genetics.

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