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Genomics in oncology nursing practice in Australia
journal contributionposted on 03.03.2021, 03:34 by H Wright, M Birks, L Zhao, Jane Mills
© 2019 Australian College of Nursing Ltd Background: Advances in genetic and genomic science and technology are changing the way healthcare is delivered. There is a new responsibility for all nurses to be knowledgeable of genomics and incorporate genomics into nursing practice. Aim: This study seeks to understand how genomics is understood and applied in oncology nursing practice in a regional hospital in Australia. The study was conducted over a six week period from January – February 2018. Methods: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with registered nurses working in oncology departments within a regional hospital in Queensland and analysed using thematic data analysis. Findings: Nine semi-structured interviews were conducted. Three key themes were identified: (1) adequacy of knowledge for practice, (2) relevance of knowledge to practice, and (3) applying knowledge in practice. Most participants believed their genomic knowledge was poor or average. While most participants believed genomics is relevant to practice, many were not clear about how genomics can be applied other than ‘targeted treatments’, and were not actively using genomics with any regularity beyond taking a family history. Discussion: Findings indicate that nurses may have limited genomic knowledge and are applying genomics in practice in a reduced capacity that falls below current expectations for competent oncology care. Conclusion: The findings of the study can be used to improve the utilisation of genomics in oncology nursing practice, which in turn may lead to better quality healthcare for patients and their families.