Education in genetics empowers health care professionals to be able to differentiate between hereditary genetic components of diseases. Knowledge, skills and competence in genetics are required among nurses and advanced midwives because of profound implications of the field on the health of society and its influence that prevails throughout human lifespan commencing before pregnancy through to old age. However, genetics content in most nursing curricula remains underrated. Further genetics competencies by the year 2012 were developed in only three countries despite a call that was made over five decade ago to adequately include genetics in nursing curricula.
The purpose of this study was to develop a competency-based curriculum framework to standardise genetics education in an advanced midwifery programme. The framework could be used as an innovation that assists in the integration of sufficient genetics in an advanced midwifery programme. This study used sequential explanatory mixed methods design in phase one, firstly a survey of current genetics education, and secondly to obtain perceptions of educators regarding a competency-based curriculum framework to standardise genetics education for the advanced midwifery programme. Quantitative data were collected from 32 educators of the advanced midwifery and data was analysed through the descriptive analysis. Qualitative data were collected by means of focus group discussions and in-depth interviews employing individual face-to-face and one-on-one telephone interviews with 19 participants. Thematic analysis, according to Braun and Clarke, was used to examine the data. Phase one findings show a random genetics education in the advanced midwifery programmes. Genetics outcomes are not planned and learners exit the programme with inadequate genetics knowledge, skills and competencies. Genetics content and teaching times vary greatly with a complete lack of assessment criteria for genetics education in almost all nursing schools. Educators in the programme do not attend any in-service education on genetics and their genetics knowledge is deeply insufficient. Other health problems, such as human immune-deficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), are afforded priority attention over genetics in the nursing curricula. Lastly, a lack of a curriculum framework to standardise genetics education in the advanced midwifery programmes was hailed to be the main identified challenge.
In phase two, a stakeholder workshop with 17 participants was held to present phase one results followed by two nominal group technique meetings. The purpose of the two meetings was to identify and reach consensus on needed genetic competencies as the third study objective was addressed. In order to address the final research objective, a curriculum framework that could standardise genetics education in the advanced midwifery programme was developed. Dimensions for curriculum framework according to Lee, Steketee, Rogers and Moran 2013 underpinned the development. Further research should survey other nursing programmes to assess inclusion of genetics.