Genetics Clinical Nurse (GCN)

Genetic Nursing Practice by the Genetics Clinical Nurse (GCN) used to be a hidden specialty, which is now globally recognized specialty holistic practice. Today, the practice has gained the formal recognition, scope and standards of practice of the genetic nursing has been published, and credentialing for genetic nurses is also available. The recent advancement in the knowledge and technology related to Genetic has made nurses to understand that all diseases bear genetic components.

Now-a-days, while offering treatments to patients, the nurses apprises the patients about the hereditary risk for developing disease, the advantages and disadvantages linked to genetic testing and contain the risk of disease developments by the genetic information received. The best example is susceptibility genes testing, which has lead to the identification and management of risks and diseases. These results have also transformed the genetic practice and a credentialing process was introduced to recognize nurses’ qualification and expertise in genetic nursing practice by the International Society of Nurses in Genetics (ISNG).

The advancements in genetic and technology field have also assisted in understanding the role of genetic changes and how human variation impact it and how it lead to the developments of diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer’s diseases, Hemophilia, diabetes, Down Syndrome, Huntington’s disease, and various other types of ailments, which are common among the adults. Oncology can be termed as the best answer to these advancements, where the nurses implement genetic principals for prevention and control of cancer through their clinical practice.

Genetics Clinical Nurse Duties

Genetics Nurse offers and manages genetic information and genetic services. The primary duties is based on  identifying the condition, referring, supporting patients and families, and offering care for genetic ailments or screening potential genetic risks among the patient. The caring process requires assessing the conditions, developing plans and implementing the care procedures. But, it is also essential that the Genetic nurse must evaluate the physical, mental, spiritual, hereditary, cultural and ethnical characteristics of the patients and family’s genetic concerns, before the care is offered. They must also counsel and educate the patients and families on hereditary & nonhereditary risk factors of genetic diseases or diseases that may have genetic components. They must also be proficient in Interpreting genetic tests & laboratory data and some advance practice nurses can also order genetic test to determine and identify genetic conditions and diseases.

GCN Work Places

GCN works in the various types of health care settings such as Cancer institutes, prenatal centers, cancer department of the hospital, Pediatric centers, schools, colleges and universities, and research facilities.


It is necessary to note that the genetics nursing has been established as an official specialty of nursing practice by the American Nurses Association (ANA). The scope and standards of clinical genetics nursing practice has been defined by the American Nurses Association (ANA) and the International Society of Nurses in Genetics (ISONG).

The initial step necessary for becoming Genetic Clinical Nurse requires earning baccalaureate degree by completing Bachelor of Science in Nursing and pass the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) developed and administered NCLEX-RN (the National Council Licensure Examination) Exam for RN Licensure. The passing of the exam offers you RN credential.

The next step requires earning the credential of GCN offered by Genetic Nursing Credentialing Commission (GNCC), which is valid for 5 years and the credentialing eligibility can be obtained by completing their requirements, such as:

  • Holding RN Licensure
  • Earning baccalaureate degree in Nursing
  • Five years work experience in a clinical genetic setting, where 50% practice must have genetic components.
  • Log of 50 cases within five years of credentialing Application including 4 Written Case Studies meeting ISONG standards.
  • Continuing education or course study of 45 contact hours of genetic content within 3 year of Application.