Genetics and Genetic Testing

Based on what you have studied and heard in class, the impact on genetics on disease is becoming a part of how we practice. If you watch television, you might have seen the advertisements for genetic testing and you often see people very excited about “finally” having detailed information about their heritage. I want to start a discussion on the pros and cons of genetic testing. By genetic testing, I do not mean heritage, but instead the effects of genetics on ones’ health. Currently, patients can be tested for a number of issues, like hemophilia or sickle cell disease, but the horizon is full of possible testing, including looking at the risk of cancers and problems with the fetus. This is a personal opinion and you can bring in resources if you like, but I’d like you to discuss genetic testing because, as a nurse, people will ask your opinion and you cannot really give an honest response until you explore it. Choose on of the following points and discuss.
1. Should it be mandatory? Should doctors, insurance companies, hospitals, employers require it of everyone they see, insure, hire, treat?
2. What are the benefits of genetic testing?
3. What are the potential problems with genetic testing?
4. If it was offered to you today, would you do it?
5. How do you feel about companies like “23 and Me” that advertise on television? Do you think this testing is accurate and could be used to make health-care decisions?

You do not have to answer those specific questions, they are just some of my thoughts, but I look forward to hearing yours.


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