“Research in Nursing & Health” Journal: Journal Review

This reaction paper is based on the editorial of the “Research in Nursing & health” journal, issue number 23 of the year 2000. In this article, the author points out the importance of genetic research for the prevention and treatment of diseases. He also points out that in nursing research there is a lack of genetic focus although, as Collins states, genetics research “affects all areas of practice and requires a genetic literacy for all health professionals” (1999a).

The author argues that genetic research has shown us that genes play a crucial role not only in disease transmission but also in disease treatment and prevention. From this research now it is possible to diagnose and treat different diseases in a way that was thought to be impossible before. This research also shows us that it is possible to identify individuals who can have high potential risks in diseases. This is something we did not even conceive before. The problem is that in nursing research the focus on genetics is very low. This can change if the focus of nursing research is oriented toward behavioral and social environmental research. By orienting the focus of nursing research on behavioral and social-environmental research nursing, as a profession, will be closer to achieving its primary goal: serving patients the best way possible.

Nursing is a profession that is in direct contact with people and has the highest time spent with patients than any other medical-related profession (Nursing Center, 2009). This is done not only in medical facilities but also in communities. An area that is developing lately in nursing is bio-behavioral research. This kind of research takes into account different factors other than biological potential disease-cause ones. For example, it takes into consideration of the culture and family relations in dealing with the risks of potential disease threats. In this respect, nursing research not only applies genetic research in it but it actually addresses some issues the late fails to address.

As noted by Feetham (1999), there is only limited research on the family and the psychological forces inside and outside it by genetic research. Nursing research, by being closer to the people and families can close this gap and give precious information to genetic research. Nursing research can provide directions for families to strengthen their abilities to respond to burgeoning genetic information. This is important because if the information is not perceived correctly by the family it can even be ineffective in preventing or treating a certain disease, for example, hypertension. But here comes another problem, that of genetic testing and the reaction individuals and families have toward it.

Genetic testing reveals important and unique information regarding individuals, their parents, and their children. It generates questions that can be ethically discussed and refused by families and individuals within a certain cultural framework. In this case, it is the “duty” of nursing research to deal with these particular cultural frameworks and act as an intermediate between the people and genetic research. Nursing leaders need to bring issues to the appropriate forums, use research to inform debates and participate in the development of reasonable practices and policies that are in the best interests of individuals, families, and groups within our society.

In conclusion, it can be argued that genetic research has brought significant advancements regarding disease treatment and prevention. Nursing research should incorporate components of genetics inside it but within a bio-behavioral and social-environmental framework.


Collins, F.S. (1999a). Shattuck Lecture. Medical and societal consequences of the Human Genome Project. New England Journal of Medicine, 341, 28±37.

2009. Nursing as a profession and Patients. The Nursing Center. Web.