Dedicated to fostering the scientific and professional growth of nurses in human genetics and genomics worldwide.
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What is a Genetics Nurse?

A genetics nurse is a licensed professional nurse with special education and training in genetics. Genetics nurses help people at risk for or affected by diseases with a genetic component achieve and maintain health. Many common diseases are now known to have a genetic component including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and Alzheimers.

Genetics nurses perform risk assessment, analyze the genetic contribution to disease risk, and discuss the impact of risk on health care management for individuals and families. They also provide genetics education, provide nursing care to patients and families and conduct research in genetics.

Click here for our Brochure WHAT IS A GENETICS NURSE? (PDF)

Nurses In Genetics Work With Patients And Their Families In Many Settings

  • specialty clinics where gene-based diagnoses and therapies are offered
  • prenatal and reproductive technology centers
  • cancer centers
  • primary health care settings
  • pediatric clinics
  • industrial health
  • school health
  • research centers
  • biotech and insurance industries

Who Could Benefit From Genetics Nursing?

  • individuals and families with known hereditary conditions or diseases thought to have a hereditary component
    Examples: Alzheimer's disease, cancer, cystic fibrosis, diabetes, Down syndrome, hemophilia, Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Sickle Cell disease
  • anyone who is considering genetic testing
  • individuals and couples who are concerned with issues related to pregnancy, such as birth defects, transmission of
    genetic conditions, or effect of pregnancy on existing genetic risk
  • couples who have had multiple miscarriages
  • couples who are related, such as first cousins
  • healthcare providers who seek genetics consultations for their patients

What Can Genetics Nurses Do For You?

  • obtain a detailed family history and construct a pedigree (family history diagram)
  • assess and analyze hereditary and nonhereditary disease risk factors
  • identify potential genetic conditions or genetic predisposition to disease
  • provide genetic information and psychosocial support to individuals and families
  • provide nursing care for patients and families at risk for or affected by diseases with a genetic component
  • provide genetic counseling
    (Advanced Practice Nurses)
  • facilitate genetic testing and interpret genetic test results and laboratory reports
    (Advanced Practice Nurses) 

Genetics Counseling

National Society of Genetic Counselors -- the leading voice, authority, and advocate for the genetic counseling profession. Discover the genetic counseling profession and its guiding principles. For more information, visit

Genetics & Nursing

National Genetics Education and Development Centre -- a site for learners and educators about what is important to know and the activities to be undertaken in clinical practice. Includes factsheets, videos, powerpoint presentations, telling stories and case scenarios. Visit

Essential Genetic and Genomic Competencies for Nurses With Graduate Degrees, co-published by the American Nurses Association (ANA) and the International Society of Nurses in Genetics (ISONG), is now available on the American Nurses Association website here. For background information on this document and how it was developed click here

If you would like the Steering Committee to provide you with a newsletter article or website announcement to help your organization announce the competencies, please contact Karen Greco at

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