An international network is being planned to support nurses working in the field of genomics.
The establishment of a Global Genomics Nursing Alliance was judged to be the “best way forward” in helping nurses use the scientific developments in genomics to improve patient care.
“Embracing genomic healthcare requires a prepared workforce that can inform, educate and empower people”
Dr Kathleen Calzone, from the National Cancer Institute, part of the US National Institutes of Health, said: “Nurses have a pivotal role in bringing the benefits of genomics to everyday healthcare.
“However, global effort is needed to transform nursing policy, practice, education and research to be mindful of the implications of genomic technologies for individuals and societies,” she said at recent meeting of nurses from across the globe at the Wellcome Genome Campus in Cambridge.
“Embracing genomic healthcare requires a prepared workforce that can inform, educate and empower people. This represents a significant challenge as deficits in nurses’ knowledge and skills in genomics are widely acknowledged,” she told delegates at the three-day summit.
Core areas for action agreed by delegates included improving education and workforce development, collaboration and communication across borders and professional groups and leadership to transform healthcare through policy development.
Academics plan to develop genomics training for nurses
One of the biggest challenges, they agreed, was in changing attitudes to the status of nursing and the potential for nurses to lead care.
Professor Maggie Kirk, from the genomics policy unit at the University of South Wales, said: “There is some very hard work to be done in addressing the issues discussed, which were common across the 18 countries represented at the summit.
She told Nursing Times there was “complete support” from the participants for the creation of a genomics alliance for nurses.
Professor Kirk added that herself and colleagues behind the holding of the summit were now taking the idea of the alliance. forward.
The summit was funded by the Wellcome Genome Campus, the National Human Genome Research Institute, US National Institutes of Health and Health Education England’s genomics education programme.