All over the world, the increased awareness of the importance of early diagnosis of genetic diseases has given them priority in primary health care. However, more recent surveys indicate that genetics content is still lacking in nursing curricula. This survey aimed to measure the current status of primary care nurses' knowledge about genetics and genetic counseling, and the educational needs of nurses related to human genetics in the Denizli region of Turkey. This area in western Turkey has an 11.7% rate of consanguineous marriages; about 3.5% of the population are hemoglobinopathies carrier and 3.2% are thalassemia carriers. Data were collected on forms that aimed to obtain information about nurses' approaches to genetics and genetic counseling. A total of 86 of 106 nurses working in Denizli province returned the questionnaire (response rate of 81.1%). Phenylketonuria, at 61.5%, and Cooley's anemia, at 60.0%, were identified as the subjects these nurses were most knowledgeable about in terms of genetic disorders. A high percentage of nurses admitted they had insufficient knowledge about the genetic basis of diseases (96.4%), inheritance patterns (98.9%), ethical and legal issues (100.0%), genetic counseling (100.0%), gene testing (95.9%), and genetic engineering (97.9%). About 67% of nurses stated they would like to attend a training course on these subjects. As a result of this study a genetics course is planned for nurses so they can actively participate in the prevention and early diagnosis of genetic diseases.
2006 Tohoku University Medical Press