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Genomics in Patient Assessment in Nursing

Understanding the difference between genetics and genomics will promote a better understanding of nursing practices. While genetics relate to an inherited disease passed along through family member(s), genomics, on the other hand, looks at a particular gene in different ways and gives an idea to understand, relate, detect, and treat. The use of genomics help healthcare professionals understands and incorporate treatment and therapies to manage genetic diseases such as Heart Disease, Asthma, and Sickle Cell Anemia (SCA). For instance, newborn screening has a test to detect SCA, which is an inherited gene. Genomics can help detect disease early so treatment can begin and prevent a crisis. Although genetics and genomics have different meanings and actions, the goal and the outcome of both remain the same. This detection gives healthcare practitioners an insight into how to treat using evidence-based information to provide quality care.

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However, genomics is more advanced. It looks into the wholeness of a disease such as Heart Disease and SCA, the environmental process of it, and tries to determine the “why” and “how.” According to McCormick and Calzone (2016), “the impact of genomic information and technology has the potential to improve healthcare outcomes, quality, and safety, and result in cost-saving” (p. 23). The penetration of genomics in nursing practice is evident, and it has been included in the scope of nursing practice by the American Nurses Association.

Genomics can be seen as an important part of the patient assessment that enables healthcare professionals to identify the current and potential issues they can face. Importantly, the patient may address the symptoms that may seem controversial and unrelated to certain diseases, and genomics can be instrumental in identifying (or excluding) health conditions. Importantly, this field of research assists in detecting potential issues that the patient may encounter in the near future, so healthcare professionals may shape treatment and prevention plans in a timely manner. Also, patients who face these diseases can be at risk of developing mental health issues. A thorough and competent health assessment can help identify these risks and able to diagnose and treat them accordingly.

It is beneficial for me as a nurse to be competent in genomics as the assessment can help identify signs and symptoms and allergic reactions relating to intervention in place. One of the central roles nurses perform is that of an educator and counselor who can explain and guide. Nurses should explain the way genes affect patients’ conditions as well as strategies to mitigate possible adverse effects or avoid undesirable outcomes. Nurses should also educate patients concerning the optimal lifestyle and diet based on the results of the assessment facilitated by genomics.

It is our responsibility to advocate for our patients to make sure they are obtaining the required tests and understand the plan of care. Nurses should advocate for the development and implementation of patient training projects for diverse groups of people (diagnosed with certain diseases or at a high risk of developing some conditions). Nurse practitioners are also responsible for advocating for the introduction of effective policies that could guide healthcare practitioners in patient assessment and the utilization of genomics.

As nurses, we must be aware of our own biased attitudes and how they can pose a safety risk. It is critical to consider the ethical implications of the use of genomics in patient assessment, remembering patients have the right to exercise autonomy. Nurses should make sure that patients’ religious beliefs allow them to undergo the procedures associated with genomics. Nurses must explain and persuade patients that genomics assessment is beneficial for them instead of simply stipulating they need to do some tests.

Genetics and genomics diseases can affect patients’ lives, jobs, parenthood, and any other future plans. So having compassion, being knowledgeable about genomics, and assessing and educating patients on ways to adapt to their current state will be vital. It is needful to address any barriers and monitor ways for a patient to comply with their treatment regimen. Nurses can help in achieving these goals through educating, providing care, and displaying respect and compassion.

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McCormick, K. A., & Calzone, K. A. (2016). The impact of genomics on health outcomes, quality, and safety. Nursing management, 47(4), 23–26. Web.

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