Multi-Ethnic Minority Nurses' Knowledge and Practice of Genetics and Genomics

By Coleman, Bernice; Calzone, Kathleen A. et al. | Journal of Nursing Scholarship, July 2014 | Go to article overview

Multi-Ethnic Minority Nurses' Knowledge and Practice of Genetics and Genomics


Coleman, Bernice, Calzone, Kathleen A., Jenkins, Jean, Paniagua, Carmen, Spruill, Ida Saeng, Bonham, Vence, Journal of Nursing Scholarship


As the proliferation of knowledge and understanding of genomics accelerates, it becomes clearer that understanding heritability and its intersection with environment has now become foundational to nursing science, theory, and practice. Genetic and genomic literacy now distinguishes all nursing professionals as state-of-the-art academicians, researchers, and clinicians who will provide the best care possible. We are emerging into an era whereupon nursing assessments, interventions, and the promotion of wellness will only attain scientific merit with the translation of genomic knowledge to practice. Health care increasingly demands that the registered nurse (RN) use genomic information and technology when designing and providing care to those concerned about health or disease. These expectations have direct implications for RN preparatory curricula, as well as for the 2.9 million practicing nurses (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, 2010).

Complex diseases such as cardiovascular and heart disease, diabetes, and cancer have disproportionally affected racial and ethnic minority populations (National Center for Health Statistics, 2012). While genetics research explores single gene disorders, the scientific discoveries now inclusive of genomics are beginning to illuminate all genetic variation in the human genome and the environmental influences on health outcomes for persons with complex chronic diseases. A transformative change in the genomic knowledge of disease pathophysiology has produced a knowledge gap for nurses. A previous study assessed nurses' knowledge of genomics integration into practice (Calzone et al., 2012; Calzone, Jenkins, Culp, Bonham, & Badzek, 2013); however, the study was not representative of ethnic minority nurses. In fact, very little is known about genomic knowledge gaps of minority nurses (Spruill, Coleman, & Collins-McNeil, 2009). These findings support the need for further investigation of multi-ethnic minority nurses' knowledge and practice of genetics and genomics.

Background

The National Coalition of Ethnic Minority Nurse Associations (NCEMNA) was incorporated in 1998 as a unified voice in nursing for the elimination of health disparities for ethnic minority populations. This national nursing collaboration represents 350,000 nurses and is composed of five ethnic minority nursing organizations. Its member organizations are:

^ Asian American/Pacific Islander Nurses Association, Inc. (AAPINA)

^ National Alaska Native American Indian Nurses Association, Inc. (NANAINA)

^ National Association of Hispanic Nurses, Inc. (NAHN)

^ National Black Nurses Association, Inc. (NBNA)

^ Philippine Nurses Association of America, Inc. (PNAA)

The goals of the NCEMNA focus on development of a cadre of ethnic nurses reflecting the nation's diversity, advocating for cultural competence, and accessible and affordable health care. This coalition of ethnic minority nurse organizations collectively supports the development of professional and educational advancement of ethnic nurses, and the education of consumers, healthcare professionals, and policy makers on health issues of ethnic minority populations. The NCEMNA's primary objective is to develop ethnic minority nurse leaders in areas of health policy, practice, education, and research. Through this approach, the endorsement of best nursing practice models inclusive of genetics-genomics, education, and research to improve the health of minority populations is paramount (NCEMNA, 2013). One of the first initiatives that the NCEMNA undertook was implementing strategies to increase minority nurse participation and success in research careers at the doctoral level. An area determined as a collective interest to the NCEMNA member organizations was the need to improve the health of the representative ethnic minority patient populations through research. Given the anticipated emerging majority of these minority populations, the NCEMNA member organizations identified the need to increase minority faculty and doctorally prepared nurses conducting research through mentorship. …

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