Genetics and genomics within nursing. What are the characteristics of genetic nurse adopters and nurse opinion leaders in genetics and genomics? (PhD study - Verity Andrews)

Nurses are crucial in helping to translate the advances in genetics and genomics into healthcare, however the integration of genetics/genomics into nursing education, training and job roles has been sporadic. Influencing incorporation into practice may be via nurses who are already utilising genetics/genomics in their practice (adopters) and nurses who may lead the way and encourage others (opinion leaders) to do likewise. This study sought to identify the characteristics of adopters and opinion leaders in this area in the belief that it could provide useful information for more wide-scale detection of such individuals and inform strategy for the inclusion of genetics/genomics into nursing practice.

Five change behaviour theories were used to inform the study including the Theory of Planned Behaviour and the Diffusion of Innovations. A mixed methods approach was taken over two phases to 1) gain a consensus on four potential indicators of adoption, (which would identify a nurse who had adopted genetics/genomics) and 2) identify the characteristics and demographic indicators of nurse genetic adopters and opinion leaders from within the oncology and practice nurse communities.

The study concluded that nurses can be categorised in terms of their relationship to genetics/genomics, through a number of distinguishing characteristics and currently two papers have been published from this work:

Andrews V, Tonkin E, Lancastle D, Kirk M (2014) Identifying the characteristics of nurse opinion leaders to aid the integration of genetics in nursing practice. J Adv Nurs 70 (11): 2598-611

Andrews V, Tonkin E, Lancastle D, Kirk M (2014) Using the Diffusion of Innovations theory to understand the uptake of genetics in nursing practice: identifying the characteristics of genetic nurse adopters. J Adv Nurs 70 (4):879-93