Rutgers College of Nursing dean authors a book on genetics and how it affects nursing and health

January 24, 2007

NEWARK, N.J. - Felissa R. Lashley, dean and professor at the College of Nursing at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, has authored a book for nursing students, faculty and practicing nurses on genetics and how it affects nursing and health.

"Essentials of Clinical Genetics in Nursing Practice" is a 316-page book that delineates essential genetic knowledge for nurses by clinical specialty and nursing course. This is the first book of its kind and should promote inclusion of genetic content in nursing curricula and in individual health care service divisions.

"To provide the best nursing care it is essential that practitioners and students have a basic knowledge of genetics and how it affects the major areas of nursing practice," said Lashley, a West Orange, N.J. resident. "Genetic factors can cause disease or affect an individual's susceptibility and resistance to disease and even treatment."

The first part of the book, published by Springer Publishing Co., discusses the place of genetics in health care and the health care trends that are related to genetics. This is followed by a review of basic and molecular biology, a discussion of human variation and diversity, and gene action and types of inheritance.

The second part of the book applies these principles to nursing courses. Specific application of genetics and genomics in regard to pharmacology, history taking and physical assessment, maternal-child bearing, adult health and illness and medical-surgical nursing, psychiatric mental health nursing, and trends, policies, and social and ethical issues are discussed. The broad concepts are presented in a nursing context with selected real-life examples and case studies.

"Writing the book in this manner allows students to apply genetics throughout their nursing program and is an important step in preparing nurses early to think inclusively about genetics in all types of disease conditions and preserving optimum health," Lashley said.

Lashley is certified as a PhD medical geneticist by the American Board of Medical Genetics, the first nurse to be so certified, and is a founding fellow of the American College of Medical Genetics. She began her practice of genetic evaluation and counseling in 1973.

She is a member of the International Society of Nurses in Genetics and the American Society of Human Genetics. Lashley was a member of the steering committee of the National Coalition for Health Professional Education in Genetics sponsored by the National Human Genome Research Institute, National Institutes of Health.

She has authored more than 300 publications, including three editions of "Clinical Genetics in Nursing Practice," the first two editions of which received Book of the Year awards from the American Journal of Nursing (AJN).

Her other books have also received AJN Book of the Year awards, including "The Person with AIDS: Nursing Perspectives," "Women Children and HIV/AIDS," and "Emerging Infectious Diseases: Trends and Issues." Lashley's book, "Tuberculosis: A Sourcebook for Nursing Practice," received a Book of the Year award from Nurse Practitioner.

Lashley received the 2000 Nurse Researcher Award from the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care, the 2001 SAGE Award by the Illinois Nurse Leadership Institute for outstanding mentorship, and the 2003 Distinguished Alumni Award from Illinois State University. In 2005, she was inducted into the Illinois State University's College of Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame and was selected as a Woman of Excellence by the New Jersey Women in AIDS Network.
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From its headquarters at Rutgers Newark, Rutgers College of Nursing offers a broad range of academic programs on all three Rutgers campuses. The college offers a master's program with unique practitioner specialties and the first to offer a doctoral (Ph.D) nursing degree in New Jersey.

Rutgers University

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