Help educate and care for patients with hereditary illnesses.
What does a Genetics Nurse do?
Our genes shape who we are right down to our hair color, but genetics can also play a role in passing on diseases. Genetics Nurses work with Doctors to identify patient risks for disease and develop a treatment plan for those who do suffer from these conditions. Genetics Nurses treat illnesses that range from cystic fibrosis and Huntington disease to sickle-cell disease and breast cancer.
As a Genetics Nurse, you’re primarily responsible for educating patients, taking samples for lab work, and interpreting test results. In certain cases, such as breast cancer, you may refer the patient to a specialist for further diagnosis and treatment.
You help families and patients cope with an illness or the risk of an illness forming. Each patient needs a different set of Doctors for treatment, and you help coordinate their efforts as well as balancing out medications that might conflict with one another.
In other cases, you inform the patient of their chances of developing a disease and recommend steps they can take to increase the chances of early detection. In the case of a young child with a genetic defect or a couple trying to conceive whose child may be at risk, you may refer them to a Pediatric Geneticist.
Your ultimate goal is helping others cope with an illness and lead fulfilling lives despite the disease. Treatment plans often involve a number of health care professionals who offer guidance and comfort to the patient and his family.