Genetics, ethics and education: considering the issues for nurses and midwives

Maggie Kirk

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The rapid advances and scope of the Human Genome Project bring into sharp focus the relevance of genetics and ethics for nursing and midwifery practice in the new Millenium. This article offers a UK perspective on how education plays a crucial part in preparing practitioners to integrate clinical advances effectively and ethically, yet may be failing in this role. Provision for teaching genetics in the UK has been found to be largely inadequate and ethical complications of this are reviewed. The context of genetics teaching is a further issue. Genetics is classified in the bioscience component of training courses in nearly 70% of UK nursing colleges; this may be of significance in its perceived relevance to practice. Finally, the ethical issues around the teaching of genetics will be discussed. Educators who are involved in delivering the genetics component of the curriculum are under an obligation to consider how learning is best achieved and how the delivery itself should be 'ethical'.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215 - 226
Number of pages11
JournalNursing Ethics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2000


  • ethics
  • genetics
  • nurse education


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