Israeli nurses and genetic information disclosure

Sivia Barnoy, Nili Tabak
Nursing Ethics 2007, 14 (3): 280-94
The debate continues about whether people have a duty to pass on the positive results of their genetic tests to relatives who are at risk from the same disease, and, should they refuse, whether physicians and genetic counselors then have the duty to do so. To date, the role and views of nurses in this debate have not been investigated. In our study, a sample of Israeli nurses, untrained in genetics, were asked for their theoretical opinions and what practical steps they would take in the case of patients' refusal to disclose. The nurses were very sure that patients should inform their families but were equally sure that nurses must respect their decision to disclose or not. Few said they would take practical steps to disclose information if the patient objected. The authors believe that the most useful and appropriate role for nurses in this field is in working to bring about co-operation between patients and family members.

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