7th Feb 2017

Leading the genomics revolution in everyday nursing practice

The Global Genomics Nursing Alliance Retreat (23-25 January 2017)

Nurses are the largest single healthcare profession in the world. And yet, despite their numbers, policy makers will often turn to medics for leadership and direction about changes to healthcare practice. Genomics has not been systematically incorporated into nursing teaching curricula, and there have been no significant changes in nursing practice that bring genomics into day-to-day care. This is now being addressed.

To tackle this head on, Wellcome Genome Campus Advanced Courses and Scientific Conferences agreed to fund a retreat involving key leaders in the nursing profession from across the world.

Global Genomics Nursing Alliance logoThe aim was to establish the Global Genomics Nursing Alliance, which would bring together nurse leaders, policy makers and professional body representatives to identify how to get genomics integrated into practice, policy, professional development, and nursing curricula worldwide.

Global Genomics Nursing Alliance Retreat highlights video

The inaugural Nursing Alliance webinars prior to the retreat brought together 30 of the most senior nurse leaders from 16 countries (Australia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Germany, Hong Kong, Israel, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Nigeria, Pakistan, S.Africa, Taiwan, Turkey, UK, and USA). Some of the most senior nurses from across the world were involved, including Presidents of Nursing Councils, Professors of Nursing, World Health Organisation leaders and a University Deputy Vice-Chancellor.

Most participants then attended the retreat at the Wellcome Genome Campus Conference Centre in January 2017.

Global Genomics Nursing Alliance first retreat participants
Global Genomics Nursing Alliance first retreat participants

The retreat adopted a framework used by the World Health Organisation called a Maturity Matrix. This facilitates a series of structured debates that are tightly moderated. The aim being to capture both qualitative and quantitative data to reach a consensus on how to move forward. The end point is a ‘roadmap’ that documents how to achieve the successful integration of genomics into practice, policy, professional development and curricula.

Each nurse leader took away pledges that would lead to immediate change in their home country.

Selection of participant tweets on #G2NAretreat on Twitter

Selecion of tweets by #G2NAretreat participants

The Global Genomics Nursing Alliance (G2NA) leadership team are indebted to Wellcome Genome Campus Connecting Science for supporting the first G2NA retreat. As a consequence of the retreat we managed to establish a brand new roadmap for guiding a global increase in genomic nursing workforce capacity

Prof Kathleen Calzone, G2NA Steering Committee, National Human Genome Research Institute, NIH, USA

Connecting Science’s Advanced Courses and Scientific Conferences were pleased to be able to support this first step on the road to getting genomics into nursing practice worldwide.

Indeed one of the aims – and a core goal of every Connecting Science team – is to bring new audiences to genomics and to Campus.

The G2NA retreat is one of several events organised by Advanced Courses and Scientific Conferences and Society and Ethics Research in this field: 2015 saw the introduction of the first genomics course for genetic counsellors in the world (a lecture/discussion course entitled Genomic Practice for Genetic Counsellors), which is hugely popular and now in its third year. Later in 2017 they will be organising a world congress of genetic counselling, providing a forum for researchers and practitioners to discuss the evidence of how genomics impacts on patients, public and society.

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