Online toolkit to help nurses integrate genomics into care

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The National Human Genome Research Institute has launched a new online toolkit to help nurses integrate genomics into patient care and to promote nursing competency in genetics.

While genomics is increasingly important to nursing practice and the rapidly changing healthcare environment, knowledge deficits in the nurse workforce remain barriers to adoption and meeting patient needs.

Nurses at all levels of experience and practice must stay abreast of developments in genomic healthcare, according to NHGRI. The agency contends that the new website’s resources will help practicing nurses to “care for patients undergoing genomic testing and treatments, build awareness in their communities, and understand how to prepare their workforce for emerging clinical applications.”

Also See: Research to accelerate genome sequencing in clinical care

The website, called the Method for Introducing a New Competency Genomics (MINC), was developed with input from clinical educators and administrators, and includes more than 100 resources for nurses of all skill levels, ranging from basic knowledge about genomics to its practical impact on healthcare systems and policies.

“The MINC toolkit is a starting point for healthcare providers who want to promote genomic integration into practice to benefit their patients,” said Laura Lyman Rodriguez, NHGRI’s director of the Division of Policy, Communication and Education. “It was designed based on the efforts of Magnet hospital nurses whose experiences were used in the design and foundation for the toolkit.”

Nurses working at 23 Magnet Recognition Program hospitals participated in a one-year study to evaluate nursing workforce attitudes, receptivity, confidence, competency, knowledge and practices regarding genomics. The MINC website is based on their feedback.

Structured in a question-and-answer format, the toolkit enables users to adapt the resources that will work best for them in their specific clinical settings. Among the website’s features are video testimonials or “champion stories” from health administrators and educators in which they detail how they overcame barriers in implementing genomics in patient care.

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