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Melissa Gray posted Feb 24, 2018 5:42 AM

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Genetics focuses on one specific gene, whereas genomics focuses on all genes in order to identify how they are involved with the growth and development of an organism (World Health Organization, 2018, para. 2).

Nurses and Policy Making

Nurses are on the forefront of gathering information in regard to family history and if there is a risk of a genetic predisposed medical condition (Calzone, Cashion, Feetham, Jenkins, Prows, Williams, and Wung, 2010, pp. 26-35). With this knowledge, nurses can take to the legislative arena the importance of genetics and genomics and how they play a key part in preventative health care. Knowing in advance what medical conditions one may be predisposed to can have providers taking preventative measures or be prepared for treatment options.

Research in Field Tied to Practice

In order for a nurse to provide appropriate care, they must understand genetics and genomics. Knowing genetic traits and the family history is imperative to a nurse when performing and initial assessment and providing this information to the provider. If there is a family history and the signs or symptoms are that of a genetic disease or illness, measures can be taken to ensure prompt appropriate treatment (Jungken, Petska, Clawson, and Fischer, 2008, para. 1-24). Having the family history and any genetic testing on file will allow health care providers the opportunity to be proactive with future treatment. How does research come in to play with this type of care in practice? Research is able to study specific genetic characteristics with race, gender, environment, and location. If a specific predisposing factor can be contributed to anything specific, genetic testing can then be conducted on the population that is affected and begin or educate on prevention.


One organization is called International Society of Nurses in Genetics. This particular organization was started by a group of nurses in 1988 who are engaged in genetic and genomic healthcare at every of policy, education, research, and clinical practice (International Society of Nurses in Genetics, 2018, para. 1-4). Most organizations welcome new nurses who are wanting and willing to learn and provide some new ideas to the field of genetics and genomics.


Calzone, K.A., Cashion, A., Feetham, S. Jenkins, J., Prows, C.A., Williams, J.K., and Wung,

S. (2010). Nurses transforming health care using genetics and genomics. Nursing Outlook,

58(1): 26–35.

International Society of Nurses in Genetics. (2018). History and what we do, Retrieved from

Junglen, L.M., Pestka, E.L., Clawson, M., and Fisher, S.D. (2008). Incorporating genetics and

genomics into nursing practice: A demonstration, The Online Journal on Issues in Nursing,


World Health Organization. (2018). WHO definitions of genetics and genomics, Retrieved


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