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Genomic Competencies for Nurses from Theory to Application: An Online Course

Nurses are increasingly called upon to record family histories, advocate ethically, research genetic variants, and communicate results of genomic tests to patients and families. Many nurses do not feel prepared to engage confidently, so having a foundational understanding of genomics is critical. Genomic Competencies for Nurses from Theory to Application: An Online Course is designed to help you bridge that knowledge gap. No previous genetic or genomic training is needed to apply.

This free, self-paced course is intended to to improve nurses' literacy in genetics and genomics to benefit their research, clinical practice and teaching, as well as to improve patient health care outcomes, particularly those from underrepresented communities.

It is based on the Essential Genetic and Genomic Competencies for Nurses with Graduate Degrees and is tailored to doctoral-level nursing faculty, clinicians and students. This professional development opportunity is offered through Duquesne University School of Nursing and funded by National Human Genome Research Institute of the National Institutes of Health.

The fall course will begin in September 2022 and will be offered twice per year, each spring and fall. Additional details and registration are forthcoming! If you interested in being a part of this exciting educational endeavor, please complete our interest form.

Learn more.


This self-paced online course begins with an optional primer module on the basics of genetics and genomics, followed by six topic-specific learning modules based on the Essential Competencies, each led by a team of experts.

For more concise information, please see our FAQs.


This course is intended improve nurses' genetic literacy and genomic science literacy to benefit patient/population health care outcomes. The goal of this course is to increase opportunities for underrepresented PhD-prepared faculty and doctoral students to participate in genomic training that has the potential to offer benefits for both the nursing workforce and the patients they serve.

As nurses continue to be called upon to communicate results of genomic tests — from direct-to-consumer to far more inclusive Whole Genome Sequencing/Whole Exome Sequencing — to patients and families, they must possess a foundational understanding of genomics. This includes how population-level genomic studies and clinical genomic research can inform patient management, as well as possess the skills to tailor and communicate the implications for care to patients and families.

Nurses must also be prepared to examine potential biases that can affect the translation of information from theory to practice. One potential source of bias is the persistent underrepresentation of minority groups in population-level and clinical research. The inclusion of diverse populations as research participants is not reflective of the increasingly diverse U.S. Census population.


Expanded Knowledge and Network

You will have the opportunity to contribute new knowledge to the science of nursing, as well as the nursing workforce, and ultimately, benefit patient outcomes. In addition, you will meet colleagues from diverse nursing fields who are also interested in improving their genomic understanding.

Contact Hours

Participants will be able to earn nursing contact hours upon completion of the course, as well as completion of the course evaluation survey and post-course assessments.

Duquesne University School of Nursing is accredited as a provider of nursing continuing professional development by the American Nurses Credentialing Center's Commission on Accreditation.

The Course At-a-Glance

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Course Length

  • Move at your own pace; recommended 6-12 weeks to complete
  • Recommended pace: 3 hours/week
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  • Free (no hidden fees or costs)
  • Materials stipend

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Instruction Type

  • 7 asynchronous modules
  • 2 optional synchronous book club sessions
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Contact Hours

  • Earn up to 21 contact hours for completing all 7 modules
  • Available at no cost

Course Aims

Specific aims of the course are to:

  1. Increase literacy in genomics among doctoral-level nurses and faculty to improve the delivery of health care in the era of genomic medicine;
  2. Provide a foundational introduction to the genetic basis of disease, health risk assessment, epigenetics and personalized health care with an emphasis on the associated ethical implications of genetic and genomic advancements;
  3. Identify opportunities for doctoral-level nurses and faculty to apply genomic medicine into research, teaching and clinical practice; and
  4. Prepare doctoral-level nurses and faculty to assimilate state-of-the-science genetics and related ethical issues into their research, teaching and clinical practice, with a focus on patients from underrepresented communities.

Course Modules

Module 0: Genetic Primer (optional)
Module 1: Risk Assessment and Interpretation
Module 2: Genetic Education, Counseling, Testing and Results Interpretation
Module 3: Clinical Management
Module 4: Ethical, Legal and Social Implications (ELSI)
Module 5: Research - Translation to Practice
Module 6: Professional Role and Leadership

Interest from Nursing Organizations

The following nursing organizations have offered to support and have expressed interest in participating with this course:

  • Chi Eta Phi Sorority, Inc.
  • International Society of Nurses in Genetics (ISONG)
  • National Association of Hispanic Nurses
  • National Organization of Nurses with Disabilities
  • Philippine Nurses Association of America, Inc.
  • Transcultural Nursing Society

NIH Disclaimer

This professional development opportunity is offered through Duquesne University School of Nursing and funded by National Human Genome Research Institute of the National Institutes of Health. This material is based upon work supported by the National Institutes of Health under Grant No. (R25HG011228). Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Institutes of Health.