Advertisement

Familial Cancer

, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp 171–180 | Cite as

Competences, education and support for new roles in cancer genetics services: outcomes from the cancer genetics pilot projects

  • Catherine BennettEmail author
  • Hilary Burton
  • Peter Farndon
Article

Abstract

In 2004 the Department of Health in collaboration with Macmillan Cancer Support set up service development projects to pilot the integration of genetics in mainstream medicine in the area of cancer genetics.

In developing these services, new roles and responsibilities were devised that required supporting programmes of education and training. The NHS National Genetics Education and Development Centre has worked with the projects to draw together their experience in these aspects. New roles include the Cancer Family Nurse Specialist, in which a nurse working in a cancer setting was trained to identify and manage genetic or family history concerns, and the Genetic Risk Assessment Practitioner—a small team of practitioners working within a secondary care setting to deliver a standardised risk assessment pathway. Existing roles were also adapted for a different setting, in particular the use of genetic counsellors working in a community ethnic minority setting. These practitioners undertook a range of clinical activities that can be mapped directly to the ‘UK National Workforce Competences for Genetics in Clinical Practice for Non-genetics Healthcare Staff’ framework developed by Skills for Health and the NHS National Genetics Education and Development Centre (2007; draft competence framework). The main differences between the various roles were in the ordering of genetic tests and the provision of advice on invasive preventive options such as mastectomy. Those involved in service development also needed to develop competences in project management, business skills, audit and evaluation, working with users, general management (personnel, multi-agency work and marketing), educational supervision, IT, public and professional outreach, and research. Important resources to support the development of new roles and competences included pathways and guidelines, a formal statement of competences, a recognised syllabus, appropriate and timely courses, the availability of a mentor, supervision and opportunities to discuss cases, a formal assessment of learning and continuing support from specialist genetics services. This represents a current resource gap that will be of concern to cancer networks and a challenge to providers of educational resources and regional genetics services.

Keywords

Cancer genetics Competences Education Genetics education Roles Service development 

Abbreviations

GRAP

Genetic risk assessment practitioner

GPwSI

General practitioner with a special interest

NICE

National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence

NHS

National Health Service

PCT

Primary Care Trust

Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to acknowledge the financial support of the Department of Health in funding the NHS National Genetics Education and Development Centre and to thank the cancer genetics pilot projects for sharing their experiences within the workshop, completing the questionnaires, and for sharing resources.

References

  1. 1.
    NHS National Genetics Education and Development Centre and Skills for Health (2007) UK national workforce competences for genetics in clinical practice for non-genetics healthcare staff. Draft competence framework. http://www.geneticseducation.nhs.uk/develop/index.asp?id=44. Cited 20 Mar 2007
  2. 2.
    Department of Health (2003) Our inheritance, our future—realising the potential of genetics in the NHS. Government white paper. http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/Publicationsandstatistics/Publications/PublicationsPolicyAndGuidance/DH_4006538. Cited 20 Mar 2007
  3. 3.
    McIntosh A, Shaw C, Evans G et al (2004; updated 2006) Clinical guidelines and evidence review for the classification and care of women at risk of familial breast cancer, London, National Collaborating Centre for Primary Care/University of Sheffield. NICE guideline CG014. www.nice.org.uk. Cited 20 Mar 2007Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Kirk M (1999) Preparing for the future: the status of genetics education in diploma-level training courses for nurses in the United Kingdom. Nurse Educ Today 19(2):107–115PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Burton H (2002) Education in genetics for health professionals. Report to the Wellcome Trust. Public Health Genetics Unit. http://www.testsite.phgu.org.uk/resources/educ_project/education-report.pdf. Cited 20 Mar 2007
  6. 6.
    Metcalfe A, Burton H (2003) Post-registration genetics education provision for nurses, midwives and health visitors in the UK. J Adv Nurs 44(4):350–359PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Burke S, Stone A, Bedward J, Thomas H, Farndon P (2006) A “neglected part of the curriculum” or “of limited use”? Views on genetics training by non-genetics medical trainees and implications for delivery. Genet Med 8(2):109–115PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Skills for Health (2007) Completed frameworks. National occupational standards and national workforce competences. http://www.skillsforhealth.org.uk/frameworks.php. Cited 20 Mar 2007
  9. 9.
    Dames D, Handscomb A (2002) A pilot study to assess the case for e-learning in the NHS. J Res Nurs 7(6):428–443CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Childs S, Blenkinsopp E, Hall A, Walton G (2005) Effective e-learning for health professionals and students—barriers and their solutions. A systematic review of the literature—findings from the HeXL project. Health Info Libr J 22(s2):20–32PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Catherine Bennett
    • 1
    Email author
  • Hilary Burton
    • 2
  • Peter Farndon
    • 3
  1. 1.NHS National Genetics Education and Development Centre, Morris Housec/o Birmingham Women’s HospitalEdgbaston, BirminghamUK
  2. 2.Foundation for Genomics and Population HealthCambridgeUK
  3. 3.West Midlands Regional Clinical Genetics ServiceBirmingham Women’s HospitalBirminghamUK

Personalised recommendations