Recent advances in human genetics-implications for nursing education curricuium



In recent years much more has been learnt about human genetics through chromosomal analysis and biochemical studies and, because of this, facilities for genetic counselling are assuming important dimensions in preventive medicine. As the general public become increasingly aware of the prospects and possibilities of advance in this area of medicine it is likely that the nurse will be approached by patients seeking help and support concerning matters related to genetics. The nurse should be capable of clearing misunderstandings perhaps by redefining or rephrasing terms in more easily understood language. Patients are very often loath to ask a doctor for clarification because they see him as being too busy to spare any more time with them than is really necessary. Consequently the nurse is the person patients look to for the provision of subsequent information. It is apparent that to enable her to function adequately in this respect she will require to be given the knowledge to do so and that education will be required to ensure that the nurse is aware of her limitations and does not give inaccurate information or attempt to help patients regarding matters that she knows little about. It is on the assumption that nurses are going to be increasingly involved in human genetics that this paper is written, with a view to prompting nurse educators to examine their educational programmes in relation to the study of human genetics.