Innovation diffusion: Genetics nursing education

                         Jenkins, Jean Frances; PhD

                         GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY,1999
                         ADULT AND CONTINUING (0516)

                         The application of scientific research discoveries within the health care environment has implications for
                         nurses in all settings that are involved in consumer education and coordination of services. One such
                         example of an area where patients are beginning to seek out more information is genetics (Adato &
                         Eccles, 1995). The skills and knowledge required by the nurse must evolve rapidly as the science and
                         technology of genetics provides greater insight into the understanding of health and disease (Doukas,
                         1993). The challenge will be to prepare the profession of nursing for the implications of knowledge that
                         integrates genetic technology into available diagnostic, prevention, and intervention options. This new
                         knowledge can be recognized as an innovation for health care. Getting a new idea adopted, even when it
                         appears to have advantages is difficult. The introduction of the individual to knowledge about the new
                         innovation is the first step within the innovation diffusion process (Rogers, 1995a) and the focus of this
                         research study. This study sought to test select elements of Roger's theory of diffusion of innovation by
                         assessing the preferences of nurses regarding content to be included in genetics education. The
                         response rate was 49.2%. Priorities for content were similarly identified by both nurses with genetic
                         expertise and those who were potential consumers of genetics education programs. No significant effect
                         was found for any of the measured variables. Three percent of nurses studied were found to be
                         innovative which may influence the ability of nursing to stimulate adoption of this innovation in education
                         and practice. Perceptions of potential consequences of genetics education were identified. The majority
                         of nurses who responded to this study were already persuaded of the importance of genetics education.
                         Educational preparation is a beginning step in assuring that all nurses will be able to translate new genetic
                         knowledge and skills into deliberations about health care decisions (Monsen, 1992).

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