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Open Access Establishing Roles in Genetic Nursing: Interviews With Canadian Nurses Définir le rôle de l'infirmière en génétique: enquête auprès des infirmières canadiennes

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Abstract:

The purpose of this qualitative study was to describe nurses' roles in providing clinical genetic services related to adult onset hereditary disease and factors that influence genetic nursing practice in Canada. The study involved semi-structured telephone interviews with 22 nurses from 5 Canadian provinces with full-time or part-time roles in providing genetic services. The interviews included open-ended questions to elicit descriptions of genetic nursing roles and factors that support and limit opportunities in genetic nursing practice. Thematic analysis of the transcribed interviews revealed that, in addition to genetic counselling, the nurses reported a wide range of roles and responsibilities related to the provision of genetic services that drew directly on their nursing background (e.g., patient assessment, health promotion). Factors identified as supporting genetic nursing roles included nursing background, being part of a multidisciplinary team, and receiving mentorship. Challenges in establishing roles in genetic nursing were related to role ambiguity, lack of recognition of nursing expertise, limited availability of genetics education, isolation, and instability of nursing positions. Recommendations to support the development and expansion of genetic nursing practice were identified. A coordinated national effort among all stake-holders is needed to provide the resources necessary to support the appropriate and effective use of nursing expertise as genetics is integrated into the Canadian health-care system.

French
Cette étude qualitative avait pour but de décrire le rôle de l'infirmière dans la prestation de services cliniques en génétique offerts aux adultes souffrant d'une maladie héréditaire, et de déterminer les facteurs influant sur cette sphère d'exercice au Canada. Les chercheuses ont mené des entrevues téléphoniques semi-structurées auprès de 22 infirmières réparties dans cinq provinces canadiennes, qui occupent toutes une fonction à temps plein ou partiel dans un service de génétique. Par des questions ouvertes, on a cherché à obtenir des descriptions du rôle qu'elles y jouent et des facteurs qui limitent leurs interventions. L'analyse thématique des entrevues révèle qu'en plus de la consultation génétique, les infirmières assument un large éventail de rôles et de responsabilités qui font directement appel à leurs connaissances en soins infirmiers (p. ex. évaluation du patient, promotion de la santé). À cet égard, posséder une formation en soins infirmiers, savoir travailler au sein d'une équipe multidisciplinaire et la pratique du mentorat constituent des atouts. Parmi les difficultés à surmonter, on souligne l'ambiguïté du rôle, un manque de reconnaissance du savoir-faire de l'infirmière, une offre limitée en matière de formation spécialisée en génétique, l'isolement et l'instabilité des postes en ce domaine. Les auteures formulent des recommandations à l'appui du développement de cette sphère d'exercice. Face à l'intégration de la génétique au sein du système de santé, il faudra coordonner les énergies des principales intéressées à l'échelle nationale afin d'obtenir les ressources qui permettront d'exploiter à bon escient le savoir-faire des infirmières.

Keywords: GENETIC COUNSELLING; GENETIC SERVICES; NURSES' ROLES; NURSING EDUCATION

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2005

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