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Assessment of Genomic Literacy Among Baccalaureate Nursing Students in the United States: A Pilot Study

International Society of Nurses in Genetics (ISONG)
10/1/2013 – 9/30/2014


Successful translation of genome-based discovery to improve health outcomes for patients and populations requires a nursing workforce competent to practice in the genome era. Genetic-genomic competencies for nurses have been established and broadly endorsed but require a level of genomic literacy that historically has not been a goal of nursing education. Nurse educators in academic and practice settings must therefore develop and implement effective and efficient strategies to implement genomic nursing education, based on evidence about what students or nurses already know about genetics and genomics, compared to what they need to know. Only then can targeted learning opportunities be developed. The Genomic Nursing Concept Inventory (GNCI) is a research-based educational assessment designed to measure understanding of genetic/genomic concepts most relevant to nursing practice. The GNCI has been validated with over 700 baccalaureate nursing (BSN) students, and validation with practicing nurses has begun. A next step is to launch the GNCI nationwide to student nurses and practicing nurses to measure preinstructional knowledge of genetics and genomics. A pilot study is going to test a process for administering the GNCI to students at multiple colleges of nursing and for processing and evaluating study data. A convenience sample of nursing faculty in the United States will be recruited to administer the GNCI to BSN students at their individual institutions. The goal is to enroll faculty at 12-15 colleges and collect data from at least 10 student groups. Inventories will be completed in proctored settings as paper-and-pencil tests with Scantron cards. Materials will be returned to the primary investigator for psychometric analysis. Scale difficulty (including differences in difficulty across demographic variables) and internal consistency reliability will be measured, as will item difficulty and discrimination. Findings about the processes of recruitment, implementation, data handling, and data analysis will be crucial to the rational design of larger studies to measure genomic literacy among nursing students as well as practicing nurses. Such studies are necessary to develop targeted, evidence-based strategies to ensure a nursing workforce prepared to deliver genome-based care.


Linda Ward
Linda Ward, PhD