Purpose: The aim of this article is to explore the interaction between the integration of genetics-genomics competencies into nursing curricula and regulatory standards. By taking a global perspective of activity in this field, we aim to develop a framework that can inform strategic planning in relation to international genetics-genomics and nursing education.
Methods: We focus our exploration around a small-scale international survey on the progress, achievements, and critical success factors of 10 countries in relation to the integration of genetics-genomics into nursing education, with exemplars from three of those countries.
Findings: Analysis of the data generated 10 themes, each with several subthemes that play a critical role in the development of genetics-genomics in nursing education and practice. The themes were organized into three overarching themes: nursing in genetics, genetics in nursing, and recognition and support. Genetics-genomics competence is not fully integrated into nursing education at an appropriate level in any country, nor was it reflected robustly in current standards for registration and licensure.
Conclusion: Strong leadership from the specialist genetics community plays a critical role in defining genetics-genomics competence but the engagement of nursing professionals at senior levels in both government and regulatory institutions is essential if nurses are to be active participants in the innovations offered by genomic healthcare.
Clinical Relevance: Safe and effective nursing practice must incorporate the needs of those with, at risk for, or susceptible to genetic-genomic conditions, as well as those who might benefit from the application of genomic technologies in the diagnosis and management of common conditions such as cancer and heart disease. The scope of such practice can be articulated though competence statements. Professional regulation defines the standard of competence that practicing nurses should demonstrate at initial registration and licensure.