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Genomic Literacy of Registered Nurses and Midwives in Australia: A Cross-Sectional Survey

journal contribution
posted on 03.03.2021, 03:25 authored by H Wright, L Zhao, M Birks, Jane MillsJane Mills
© 2018 Sigma Theta Tau International Purpose: Registered nurses and midwives require a degree of genomic literacy if they are to adequately communicate with other healthcare professionals and provide optimal care to patients, their families, and the community. Several studies have been conducted internationally to assess the genomic literacy of nurses; however, the genomic literacy of Australian registered nurses and midwives has not been investigated. The aim of this study was to measure the genomic literacy of Australian registered nurses and midwives through assessing participants’ understandings of genomic concepts most critical to nursing and midwifery practice, as well as their perceived knowledge and attitude towards genomics in nursing and midwifery practice. Design: Cross-sectional survey of Australian registered nurses and midwives using the Genomic Nursing Concept Inventory (GNCI©), a 31 multiple-choice question survey instrument. Participants were recruited via two key Australian nursing and midwifery organizations over an 8-month period in 2016. Methods: Descriptive and inferential statistical techniques were used to calculate the total GNCI© score and scores on individual subcategories, as well as relationships between demographic variables and GNCI© scores. Findings: Most respondents worked as clinicians (71.4%) in a hospital or hospital-based setting (61.8%). Most registered nurses (80.5%) and midwives (97.2%) reported that genetics was relevant to clinical practice; however, over 80% of registered nurses and midwives believed their knowledge of genetics was poor or average. Genomic knowledge was assessed using the GNCI©. Scores ranged from 3 to 29 (out of a possible 31), with a mean score of 13.3 (SD 4.559) based on 253 (N = 253) respondents, indicating that genomic literacy is low. There was a significant difference between genomic knowledge scores and education and training level (p =.036). Conclusions: The genomic literacy of registered nurses and midwives in Australia is low. More must be done to ensure Australian registered nurses and midwives have an adequate level of genomic literacy to provide optimal care to patients, their families, and the community. Clinical Relevance: Modern medicine requires a healthcare workforce that is literate in genomics. Findings from this study may serve as the catalyst to improve the genomic literacy of the Australian nursing and midwifery workforce, allowing for improved health outcomes for individuals and the wider Australian public.


Publication Date



Journal of Nursing Scholarship






(p. 40-49)





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