Just launched – New e-learning resource for nurses and healthcare assistants

RCN-e-learning-module‘The future is in their history’ – New e-learning resource to help nurses become more aware about genetic information

Patients can reveal vital ‘nuggets’ of information about their medical family history without even realising it.  This could occur during a formal history-taking activity or during less formal situations such as talking to healthcare staff during a treatment / procedure or whilst a nurse is helping them to dress.  As this information can sometimes be vital in assessing a condition in a family, it is important that all nursing staff become more aware and know what to do. 

With this in mind the NHS National Genetics Education and Development Centre (NGEDC) and The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) have collaborated on a new e-learning continuing professional education resource for nursing staff.  The resource includes simplified explanations of the core concepts around genetics, inheritance and conditions which may be identified as common in some families and guidance on how to appropriately handle this information when it is disclosed.  

Key topics of the resource include:


  • Core concepts in genetics
  • How patients tell nursing staff key information
  • How critical this is to routine nursing care

The three A’s

  • Alert
  • Ask
  • Act
  • How to take action when genetic issues are identified

Case scenarios

  • The relevance of genetic issues across different areas of nursing and midwifery

Useful resources

  • Signposts to books, journal articles and websites

Further learning

  • Signposts to more learning resources on this topic

The resource is self directed so nurses can work through at their own speed and is targeted at nurses who have had very little genetics education in their training but is also suitable for those nurses who want a refresher course about genetics.  It could also be used as a pre-nurse training module for Health Care Assistants who are members of the RCN. 

‘The future is in their history’ is available via the Royal College of Nursing website at http://www.rcn.org.uk/development/practice/cpd_online_learning.  Click on the relevant hyperlink listed on the CPD online learning page.