Discuss the family health nurse role in genetic counseling
1 Laticia Davis
M2A3DB: Genetic Counseling
This week’s discussion is about the family health nurse role in genetic counseling. Today a couple came into the office expressing their desire to start a family, but they both are carriers of the sickle cell trait. I will be the counselor for the family and assist them in decision making by educating, exploring options and outcomes (Kaakinen, Coehlo, Steele, & Robinson, 2018).
Sickle cell is a blood disorder that affects red blood cells that carries oxygen through the body. This couple has the trait which means they are carriers, and runs the risk of having a baby with sickle cell anemia (Vacca, & Blank, 2017). If a child is born with sickle cell they can have a short life span with multiple ailments such as pain, infections, delayed growth, vision problems and death. Ultimately the choice is up to them but I would advise against having a child together. I would really encourage adoption due to the possible risk of the child being born with sickle cell disease. If adoption is not an option I would advise them to think about the risk before bringing a child into the world.
In conclusion the family nurse role is to educate families and give alternative options to help families in decision making. My husband has the sickle cell trait and before we had children I made my OB/GYN aware.
Kaakinen, R.J., Coehlo, P.D., Steele, R. & Robinson, M., (2018). Family Health Care Nursing. Theory, Practice, and Research 6th. Ed. F.A. Davis Company
Vacca Jr., V. M. ., & Blank, L. (2017). Sickle cell disease: Where are we now? Nursing, 47(4), 26–35. https://doi-org.proxy.
2 Christina Downs
M2 A3 DB Genetic Counseling
I once had a patient in the nursing home who had Huntington’s Disease and I watched as she progressed from a standby assist to sleeping in an adult sized crib so she didn’t fall out of bed from thrashing around and hurt herself. Her son came every day when she was first there and helped her eat her breakfast and supper. These were the early days of genetic testing and eventually he was tested only to find out that he would suffer the same fate. He continued to stand by his mom’s side until her final days, but you could see that after he knew he struggled with his own emotions on an even deeper level.
As a genetic counseling nurse approached a couple wanting to have children knowing that they were both carriers for a genetic disorder we would need to explore a lot of things. The first thing I would explore is if each carrier was a dominant or recessive carrier and the probabilities of the child developing the illness based upon the parent’s genetic status. I would also explore what the parents know about the illness. I would discuss the implications of potentially having a baby with a serious medical condition that requires constant medical attention. I would advise that they also reach out to a genetic specialist in the field of the illness. Finally I would recommend they seek online support groups. I believe it to be helpful to talk to others who can relate directly to your experience and can not only empathize but sympathize.
Edens-Hurst A. (2018). Prenatal Genetic Counseling. Medline Plus, US National Library of Medicine. Retrieved from: https://medlineplus.gov/
Kaakinen, J.R., Coehlo, D.P., Steele, R., & Robinson, M. (2018). Family health care nursing: Theory, practice and research (6th ed.). Philadelphia, PA: F.A. Davis Company.
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