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This series of eight articles aims to raise awareness of genetics and help readers develop confidence in dealing appropriately with genetic issues that arise in their area of practice. Below is a summary of each article.
Introduction to the genetics series
This article provides a brief introduction to a seven-week series of articles that are underpinned by a competence-based genetics education framework. The series of articles aims to raise awareness of genetics and help readers develop confidence in dealing appropriately with genetic issues that arise in their area of practice.
Identifying clients who might benefit from genetic services and information
This article is the first in a series of seven which examine competence standards for nurses, midwives and health visitors in relation to genetics. The author indicates who might benefit from a genetic consultation and describes the use of a family history - in the form of a family tree - to identify these clients. Client expectations of a genetic consultation and managing these are also discussed.
Tailoring genetic information and services to clients' culture, knowledge and language level
This article discusses approaches to dealing with transcultural care. Patient treatment can be improved by considering various cultural differences, establishing empathy, and focused listening. Scenarios, points for reflection and suggestions for non-judgemental language are provided.
Genetics: uphold the rights of all clients to informed decision-making and voluntary action
This article discusses the rights of patients in relation to types of genetic tests and the broader implications for families. Use and misuse of genetic information is considered, including scenarios and points to consider. The use of a non-directive approach in genetic counselling is emphasised and multifactorial disorders, prenatal diagnosis and learning disabilities are discussed.
The role of genetic factors in maintaining health
This article reviews the essential background information nurses need to help them understand how genetics influences health and illhealth. The typical human genetic make-up is described, along with an explanation of how changes to this can result in disease. The author also describes the characteristics of different patterns of inheritance.
Utility and limitations of genetic testing and information
This article introduces some of the issues involved in genetic testing and information, particularly the utility and limitations of such testing. Psychosocial and ethical issues that may arise in this area are also discussed. The aim of this article is to stimulate readers' awareness of and insight into these matters in the hope that practitioners will examine and reflect on the applicability of these to their area of practice.
Recognising the limitations of your genetics expertise
The sixth article in this series aims to provide you with sufficient knowledge to refer a client for further genetic assessment. The focus is on the skills needed to recognise the limitations of one's own genetics competence, as described in the competency standard statement; this is that, at the point of registration, all nurses, midwives and health visitors should be able to recognise the limitations of their own genetics experience based on an understanding of their professional role in the referral, provision or follow up to genetics services.
Obtaining and communicating information about genetics
This article, the last in this series, focuses on the ways a nurse can acquire relevant genetic information for effective practice and how this information can be communicated successfully.