TRU's nurse practitioner students to receive genetic-specific healthcare education

Genetic education at TRU

Thompson Rivers University’s nurse practitioner program has received funding for a pilot program to introduce genetic-specialized health care into the program's curriculum.

According to Genome BC, the program is the first initiative in Canada to integrate “precision health concepts” and genomics education into nurse practitioner training for both students and faculty.

Genome BC said precision heath is the tailoring of health care to a person’s specific genetic makeup, which is made difficult by limited genomic knowledge among healthcare providers and educators.

“The main aim of this program is to make sure that everyone in BC who needs clinical genomic services can access them,” said Sally Greenwood, Genome BC vice president of communications and societal engagement.

“We believe that providing health care providers with the right education is the starting point for achieving equitable access to genomics and precision health care for all.”

According to Genome BC, the program was developed after a lack of resources to educate health professionals was identified as a major obstacle in the use of genomics in clinical care.

The program is also in collaboration with the University of British Columbia and the University of Northern British Columbia.

“Existing nurse practitioner programs teach very little genetic or genomic content, yet it is now a crucial part of many primary care clinical interactions regarding prevention, diagnosis and treatment of common diseases,” said tru assistant professor of nursing Dr. Sarah Dewell.

“We will introduce genomic literacy at TRU in a way that ensures it is immediately relevant and reliable.”

The program will introduce nurse practitioner graduates and faculty to knowledge and skills to support the use of genetics and genomics in B.C. healthcare settings.

Genome BC said a “crucial aspect”of the projects extending the benefits go genomics to regions often neglected due to social and geographic reasons.

“This pilot project resonates with TRU’s innovative and collaborative approach to nursing education,” TRU’s Dean of Nursing Dr. Rani Srivastava said.

“Our faculty eagerly anticipates integrating genomic content into our new nurse practitioner program and strengthening connections with UNBC and UBC.”

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