An iterative consensus-building approach to revising a genetics/genomics competency framework for nurse education in the UK

Maggie Kirk, Emma Tonkin, Heather Skirton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review



To report a review of a genetics education framework using a consensus approach to agree on a contemporary and comprehensive revised framework.


Advances in genomic health care have been significant since the first genetics education framework for nurses was developed in 2003. These, coupled with developments in policy and international efforts to promote nursing competence in genetics, indicated that review was timely.


A structured, iterative, primarily qualitative approach, based on a nominal group technique.


A meeting convened in 2010 involved stakeholders in UK nursing education, practice and management, including patient representatives (n = 30). A consensus approach was used to solicit participants' views on the individual/family needs identified from real-life stories of people affected by genetic conditions and the nurses' knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to meet those needs. Five groups considered the stories in iterative rounds, reviewing comments from previous groups. Omissions and deficiencies were identified by mapping resulting themes to the original framework. Anonymous voting captured views. Educators at a second meeting developed learning outcomes for the final framework.


Deficiencies in relation to Advocacy, Information management and Ongoing care were identified. All competencies of the original framework were revised, adding an eighth competency to make explicit the need for ongoing care of the individual/family.


Modifications to the framework reflect individual/family needs and are relevant to the nursing role. The approach promoted engagement in a complex issue and provides a framework to guide nurse education in genetics/genomics; however, nursing leadership is crucial to successful implementation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)405-20
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Advanced Nursing
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2014


  • competence
  • consensus approach
  • genetics
  • genomics
  • competency
  • education
  • nursing


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