Ethics. Research. Community.

Health visitors' perceived priority needs in relation to their genetics education.

Nurse education today. 
[Record Source: PubMed]
There is a growing recognition, nationally and internationally of the need to increase the genetics education of health professionals. Nurses in primary care are expected to be an important link between people undergoing genetic investigation and regional clinical genetic centres. Core competencies in relation to genetics for all nurses, midwives and health visitors have recently been identified within the United Kingdom. This paper reports a study that sought to investigate health visitors' views on the components of these core competencies in genetics and their self reported educational needs in the area of genetics. A questionnaire based survey of 345 health visitors was undertaken in Northern Ireland, as one region of the United Kingdom during late 2003. Completed questionnaires were returned by 194 health visitors (56.2% response). Respondents largely supported the components of the core competencies now endorsed by the Nursing and Midwifery Council and reported their need for further education in relation to genetics. However, they had a limited view on their role in supporting parents of children undergoing genetic investigation. Further action needs to be taken to provide health visitors with the necessary genetic knowledge and skills in order that they are in stronger position to provide 'collateral' support for people undergoing genetic investigation.
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