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Nurses at forefront of genomics in health care

NIH stresses importance of genomics in nursing care in medical literature


On April 14, 2003 a map of the human genome was completed, ushering in a new era of genetics in medicine with applications that include genetic testing; newborn screening; susceptibility to diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, or psychiatric conditions; screening, diagnosis and monitoring of disease; and treatment planning. A special Genomics Issue, including an evidence review by researchers from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), published by Wiley in the Journal of Nursing Scholarship on behalf of the Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International, addresses these genetic applications that are essential to advancing nursing knowledge and patient care.

"With nurses at the forefront of clinical care, their understanding of genomics and genetic applications is important to enhancing healthcare and improving patient outcomes," said Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Nursing Scholarship, Susan Gennaro RN, DSN, FAAN, Dean and Professor at the William F. Connell School of Nursing at Boston College in Chestnut Hill, Mass. "Our editorial objective is to publish articles that are most useful to our nursing readership and genetics and genomics studies are some of the most widely read articles in the journal. I am pleased to have NIH authors contribute to the Genomics Issue which will assist nurses on the frontlines of patient care."

In response, this Genomics Issue highlights evidence that bridges genetics and nursing in order to educate nurses around the world who play an important role in improving patient care. For example, Dr. Deborah MacDonald, formerly with the Division of Clinical Cancer Genetics at the City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center in Duarte, Calif and now with the NIH in Bethesda, Md., details how nurses can impact cancer patient care with awareness of the underlying genomic factors involved in the development of malignancies.

Dr. MacDonald confirms, "Genomics, which encompasses genetics, is rapidly advancing and changing the scope of cancer care. It is important for nurses to understand how genomics contributes to cancer risk assessment, prevention, diagnosis, treatment and long-term management, so that they may educate cancer patients and their families." The authors suggest that when nurses advocate use of evidence-based genomic guidelines they help to reduce cancer risk and improve health, quality of life and safety of patients in their care.

"The purpose of this Genomics Issue is to provide evidence reviews about the genomics of common healthcare conditions relevant to nursing practice," explains editorial author Kathleen A. Calzone, PhD, RN, APNG, FAAN with the NIH. "Eleven articles focus on current and emerging technology including genome sequencing, evidence of genomic variation and applications for diseases such as cancer, metabolic syndrome and heart disease; and ethical, legal, social and research issues with application of genomics in health care, facilitating the effective use of genomic information to promote and protect the public's health."

"We are excited to be able to offer this Genomics Issue highlighting the relevancy of genomics to healthcare and nursing practice in response to an expressed interest by Nursing Deans for an updated clinical genomics resource," added Dr. Jean Jenkins with the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), NIH. "Such knowledge is essential to assuring the nursing expertise needed not only for today, but also for the future."


These studies are published in the Journal of Nursing Scholarship. Media wishing to receive a PDF of the articles may contact

The NIH has created a special genomics video that will be available on February 1, 2013. To view this video please visit:

Full citations: Editorial: "Relevance of Genomics to Healthcare and Nursing Practice." Kathleen A. Calzone, Jean Jenkins, Nick Nicol, Heather Skirton, W. Gregory Feero and Eric D. Green. Journal of Nursing Scholarship; Published Online: February 1, 2013 (DOI: 10.1111/j.1547-5069.2012.01464.x). URL Upon Publication:

"Integration of Genomics in Cancer Care." Erika Maria Monteiro Santos, Quannetta T. Edwards, Milena Floria-Santos, Silvia Regina Rogatto, Maria Isabel Waddigton Achatz and Deborah J. MacDonald. Journal of Nursing Scholarship; Published Online: February 1, 2013 (DOI: 10.1111/j.1547-5069.2012.01465.x). URL Upon Publication:

"Genomics and Autism Spectrum Disorder." Norah L. Johnson, Ellen Giarelli, Celine Lewis and Catherine E. Rice. Journal of Nursing Scholarship; Published Online: February 1, 2013 (DOI: 10.1111/j.1547-5069.2012.01483.x). URL Upon Publication:

"Current and Emerging Technology Approaches in Genomics." Yvette P. Conley, Leslie G. Biesecker, Stephen Gonsalves, Carrie J. Merkle, Maggie Kirk and Bradley E. Aouizerat. Journal of Nursing Scholarship; Published Online: February 1, 2013 (DOI: 10.1111/jnu.12001). URL Upon Publication:

"An Overview of the Genomics of Metabolic Syndrome." Jacquelyn Y. Taylor, Aldi T. Kraja, Lisa de las Fuentes, Ansley Grimes Stanfill, Ashley Clark and Ann Cashion. Journal of Nursing Scholarship; Published Online: February 1, 2013 (DOI: 10.1111/j.1547-5069.2012.01484.x). URL Upon Publication:

"Ethical, Legal, and Social Issues in the Translation of Genomics into Healthcare." Laurie Badzek, Mark Henaghan, Martha Turner and Rita Monsen. Journal of Nursing Scholarship; Published Online: February 1, 2013 (DOI: 10.1111/jnu.12000). URL Upon Publication:

"An Update of Childhood Genetic Disorders." Cynthia A. Prows, Robert J. Hopkin, Sivia Barnoy and Marcia Van Riper. Journal of Nursing Scholarship; Published Online: February 1, 2013 (DOI: 10.1111/jnu.12003). URL Upon Publication:

"Physical, Psychological and Ethical issues in Caring for Individuals with Genetic Skin Disease." Diane C. Seibert and Thomas N. Darling. Journal of Nursing Scholarship; Published Online: February 1, 2013 (DOI: 10.1111/jnu.12004). URL Upon Publication:

"Cardiovascular Genomics." Shu-Fen Wung, Kathleen T. Hickey, Jacquelyn Taylor and Matthew J. Gallek. Journal of Nursing Scholarship; Published Online: February 1, 2013 (DOI: 10.1111/jnu.12002). URL Upon Publication:

"Implications of Newborn Screening for Nurses." Jane DeLuca, Karen L. Zanni, Natasha Bonhomme and Alex R. Kemper. Journal of Nursing Scholarship; Published Online: February 1, 2013 (DOI: 10.1111/jnu.12005). URL Upon Publication:

"The Implications of Genomics on the Nursing Care of Adults with Neuropsychiatric Conditions." Debra L. Schutte, Marilyn A. Davies and Emilie Dykstra Goris. Journal of Nursing Scholarship; Published Online: February 1, 2013 (DOI: 10.1111/jnu.12006). URL Upon Publication:

"A Blueprint for Genomic Nursing Science." Genomic Nursing State of the Science Advisory Panel: Kathleen A. Calzone, Jean Jenkins, Alexis D. Bakos, Ann Cashion, Nancy Donaldson, Greg Feero, Suzanne Feetham, Patricia A. Grady, Ada Sue Hinshaw, Ann R. Knebel, Nellie Robinson, Mary E. Ropka, Diane Seibert, Kathleen R. Stevens, Lois A. Tully and Jo Ann Webb. Journal of Nursing Scholarship; Published Online: February 1, 2013 (DOI: 10.1111/jnu.12007). URL Upon Publication:

Author Contacts: Media wishing to speak with Dr. Calzone or Dr. MacDonald may contact the National Cancer Institute Press Office at +1 301-496-6641 or Dr. Jean Jenkins with the National Human Genome Research Institute was also a primary contributor to the Genomics Issue. To speak with Dr. Jenkins, please contact Jeannine Mjoseth at +1 301-594-1045 or

About the Journal

Reaching health professionals, faculty and students in 103 countries, the Journal of Nursing Scholarship is focused on health of people throughout the world. It is the official journal of the Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International, and reflects the honor society's dedication to providing the tools necessary to improve nursing care globally. For more information, please visit

About the Society

The Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI) is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to support the learning, knowledge and professional development of nurses committed to making a difference in health worldwide. Founded in 1922, STTI has more than 130,000 active members in more than 85 countries. Members include practicing nurses, instructors, researchers, policymakers, entrepreneurs and others. STTI's 486 chapters are located at 662 institutions of higher education throughout Australia, Botswana, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, England, Ghana, Hong Kong, Japan, Kenya, Malawi, Mexico, the Netherlands, Pakistan, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Swaziland, Sweden, Taiwan, Tanzania, the United States and Wales. More information about STTI can be found online at

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