Genetic factors influence the risk for disease, selection of treatments, and overall health of persons throughout the life span. Nurses in critical care practice participate in assessing genetic risks for disease, implementing treatments, educating people about genetic aspects of health and disease, supporting the client’s abilities to cope with the information, and assisting the individual and family to make health-related decisions involving genetic information. Opportunities for critical care nurses to become knowledgeable about genetic aspects of critical care nursing exist through academic courses, continuing education, and summer institutes. Recently, new guidelines for the genetic education of nurses have been developed. However, genetic education opportunities are not available to all nurses throughout the United States. Genetic nursing education programs based on guidelines for integration of genetic knowledge into professional nursing practice are needed.

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