Clinical Center News
Fall 2019

The Nursing Department Joins the NIH Genomics Revolution

Nurses working on a pedigree diagram within a patient's medical record
Nurses work on a pedigree diagram in the patient's medical record.
 

Empowered with this competency in genetics and genomics, the nursing staff can play a more active role in supporting study teams with genomic protocols and in helping patients to get maximum benefit from these protocols.

The Clinical Center Nursing Department has joined the genomics revolution that is transforming clinical research and patient care from bench to bedside.

In a new pilot project, nurses will obtain three-generation family health histories from 100 Clinical Center patients enrolled in a sickle cell disease clinical study. Nurses will then create a pedigree diagram for each patient via a new Clinical Research Information System (CRIS) pedigree. The CRIS pedigree can show how traits and patterns of medical problems and diseases are passed from one generation to another. The pedigree will be integrated into the patient’s electronic medical record and allow all health care team members (nurses, physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, genetic counselors) to make updates as new health information is discovered about the patient and their family. The Nursing Department in collaboration with the Department of Clinical Research informatics plans to assess and quantify the accuracy and ease of use of the CRIS pedigree.

The Clinical Center is a among a small handful of U.S. hospitals that require its nursing staff to complete a genomic competency. As of 2017, all nurses that care for patients have completed a beginner level genomic competency which includes a full-day course: Introduction to Genetics and Genomics in Healthcare. Approximately 1/3 of the nursing staff have completed the intermediate level competency.

In addition to the introductory course, a two-day course, Intermediate Genetics and Genomics in Health Care, encourages nurses to continue developing their genomics proficiency. Course instructors and participants foster ongoing competency validation by creating posters, presentations, outreach, workgroups, and case studies. Followup and advanced courses in genetic and genomics are also in development.

Empowered with this competency in genetics and genomics, the nursing staff can play a more active role in supporting study teams with genomic protocols and in helping patients to get maximum benefit from these protocols. The Genetics and Genomics in Health Care courses are created and managed by the Nursing Department but are open for anyone to attend. View more information or register for a course.

- Lester Davis

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