Genomics course for nurses and midwives: funded places now available

Nurses and midwives keen to learn about genomics can apply to join this popular introductory course delivered online by the University of the West of England

As the roll-out of the NHS Genomic Medicine Service brings equitable access to genomic testing across England for the first time, the impact of genomics on patient care continues to grow.

To enable nurses and midwives to develop their knowledge and understanding of genomics and better support their patients, the University of the West of England has created an online course in collaboration with Macmillan Cancer Support, a range of NHS genomics specialists, and Health Education England’s Genomics Education Programme (HEE GEP).

Nurses and midwives working in England can apply for funding to cover the introduction 15-credit module, and limited additional places are available for extension to the full PGCert (60 credits).

Please note: in the event that funding requests are oversubscribed, selection will be based on the strategic needs of Genomic Medicine Service Alliances (GMSAs). Those who are unsuccessful will be placed on a waiting list for the next course run.

An introduction to genomics

The course has been developed for nurses and midwives with little-to-no previous knowledge of genomics. Interest, enthusiasm and completion of pre-course learning materials will enable learners to excel, even if they are novice in this area.

The module will be delivered via a blended learning model, and will include five core units:

  1. personal and professional development in genomics;
  2. cancer genetics and genomics;
  3. rare and inherited conditions;
  4. talking genomics; and
  5. pharmacogenomics and personalised medicine.

In addition, the applications of genomics in infectious diseases will be covered in discussion forums.

Beginning on 12 September 2022, participants can expect to spend six to eight hours per week engaging with the module content. To accommodate clinical commitments, all lectures will be pre-recorded and available online. Participants will be supported by weekly live online tutorials with the expectation that these are attended. Please review the dates and times when considering your commitment with your line manager.

A blended approach

The module will require 30 hours of synchronous learning (such as online live webinars and virtual classroom tutorials), 40 hours of asynchronous learning (such as pre-recorded lectures and online discussion boards), and 80 hours of independent/self-guided study time. Teaching will be delivered via Blackboard and live sessions via Blackboard Collaborate. Participants’ newly gained knowledge and skills will be assessed through group presentations and creation of information leaflets for patients and their families. In total, the full course will take around 25 weeks in total to complete. Dates and times for all three course modules can be found here.

Click here to apply for the course

Please note: Applications for funding will close on 15 July 2022. Contact Melanie Watson melanie.watson@nbt.nhs.uk for more information.

Further learning

In addition to the introductory module, a limited number of fully-funded places are available for learners to complete a recently validated PGCert in genomics. This programme integrates fundamentals of genetics, genomics and inheritance; genetic counselling skills; research and service evaluation skills; and leadership skills. The research and evaluation skills will prepare participants to lead genomics projects within the GMSAs.

Using evidence-based methodologies, participants will work with partners (for example, local quality improvement and transformation teams, HEE, AHSNs, cancer alliances, charities, professional networks and others) to test changes and embed genomics into clinical practice. Knowledge and case studies will be shared cross-regionally and nationally to illustrate the positive impacts that genomics focussed care pathways have on health outcomes for patients and families. The programme will provide many opportunities to practice genetic counselling and conversation skills with active participation of patients.

On this programme, participants will have access to extensive academic, scientific, and clinical expertise from those who will be delivering content, and benefit from close links with the GMSAs and Genomics Laboratory Hubs (GLHs). The programme was co-created with the involvement of HEE, Macmillan Cancer Support, the British Heart Foundation, the South West GLH and Genomics England.

Learner testimonials

Healthcare professionals who completed the 15-credit CPD module said:

“The expertise available to students on this course is invaluable! Really appreciate the access we have to these professionals and the level of understanding they exude really makes the subject interesting and engaging.

“I have loved every single minute of this course, the support from all of you has been incredible. It has given me more confidence in myself and my abilities.”

“I came into the course feeling like I knew next to nothing about genomics, and I was very daunted by the subject. But once I was at the other end of the course, I was surprised by how much more confident I was talking genomics. This is in no small part due to the excellent speakers and their ability to deliver complex subjects to a novice audience, our module leads for the support and encouragement throughout the course and the comradery of the cohort. As hard as I found it sometimes, I thoroughly enjoyed the course and it felt very bittersweet when it ended.” 

“Thank you for an excellent introduction to Genomic and Counselling Skills. I have gained a deeper understanding of genomics and how it is used to support clinical practice and influence patient management. I have increased my genomic literacy and gained greater confidence in talking genomics with colleagues, patients and their families. I would strongly advocate this module to all nursing and healthcare professional colleagues.”

 “I hope that genomics courses that extend and develop from this one might be available in the near future. Nurses are often overlooked as professionals, academically patronised and socially undervalued. It is so refreshing to undertake a course like this, one that finally ‘sees’ us, challenges us and celebrates our role as essential navigators on the patient’s pathway towards the future of better, personalised healthcare.”

If you have further questions about the course, please email melanie.watson@nbt.nhs.uk