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Core Competencies in Cancer Genetics for Advanced Practice Oncology Nurses

Kathleen A. Calzone
Jean Jenkins
Agnes Masny
ONF 2002, 29(9), 1327-1333 DOI: 10.1188/02.ONF.1327-1333

Purpose/Objectives: To determine core competencies in cancer genetics for advanced practice nurses (APNs) in oncology.

Design: Survey.

Sample: Expert panel of 9 nursing educators or researchers, 9 general genetics experts, 9 genetics experts with specialties in oncology, and 10 oncology APN nurse consumers (N = 37).

Methods: Utilizing the Delphi Technique, two rounds of surveys were conducted. Round 1's survey required openended responses to identify skills, attitudes, and competencies specific to cancer genetics. Round 2 requested ranking of the importance of identified competencies.

Main Research Variables: Skills, attitudes, and competencies specific to cancer genetics.

Findings: Recommended genetics competencies and knowledge for oncology APNs were identified for the categories of direct caregiver (6 items), coordinator (6 items), consultant (7 items), educator (6 items), researcher (8 items), and professional attitudes (16 items).

Conclusions: Identified competencies provide a foundation and direction for development of the education curriculum recommended for all practicing oncology APNs.

Implications for Nursing: Integrating genetic concepts into clinical practice is essential. Oncology APNs must have an expanded knowledge base in genetics to enable them to incorporate advances in genetics into practice to ensure quality outcomes. Development of genetics education is crucial to ensure future competency. Research that determines the impact of such education is warranted.

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