#WeNurses - Tuesday 4th July 2017 8pm (GMT Standard Time) Nursing in the 21st century: Communicating the complex

If you haven't joined in a tweet chat before it's very simple.    Here's a guide

 Chat Details


Hosted by WeNurses using #WeNurses

This chat is guest hosted by @genomicsedu

“Nurses and nursing staff are at the heart of the communication process: they assess, record and report on treatment and care, handle information sensitively and confidentially, deal with complaints effectively, and are conscientious in reporting things they are concerned about.” RCN, Principles of nursing practice, Principle E.

Nurses play a key role through out a patient’s journey, spending more time with patients than any other profession within the NHS. The ability to communicate in a clear, accessible manner is fundamental to this relationship.

It is often the role of nurses to explain information to patients in a language they can understand. Communicating within a healthcare setting involves the use of complex terms. We constantly use acronyms (including the ‘NHS’ itself) and specific jargon when speaking with colleagues. If used with patients and the public, these can create a verbal barrier. Equally, nurses can be presented with complex terminology that they may be unfamiliar with. What do nurses do when posed with difficult language? What happens when the use of complex terms prevents clear and honest communication?

Genomics, the study of the DNA in our cells, is a powerful tool and is set to revolutionise healthcare. The information stored in our DNA will provide new diagnoses, prognoses and treatments, forming the foundations of personalised medicine. As genomic medicine becomes common practice within the NHS, the ability of the workforce to understand, discuss and convey this complex area to colleagues and patients has never been more pressing. Could you describe to a patient why one treatment works better than another based on their genomic information? Would you be able to explain how a genomic test is used in your area of practice? If a colleague asked, would you be able to explain what genomics is?

The Genomics Education Programme would like to hear how you communicate the complex, using genomics as an example. What communication techniques do you use, where have these worked and where they have not? We are keen to learn from you as we prepare nurses, midwives and the entire health service for the genomics revolution.

Throughout the chat we will be asking:

·       How do you normally tackle communicating complex topics?

·       Can you give examples where medical jargon has created a barrier in communication?

·       What communication tactics do you use to overcome any barriers? Have they worked?

·       Do you choose your words wisely? For instance, using words like ‘condition’ instead of ‘disease’ to avoid negative connotations?

·       Do you think the perceived complexity of subjects like genomics puts people off talking about them?

·       How can the language of genomics become more user-friendly?


What is the Genomics Education Programme?

The Genomics Education Programme has been set up to support the education and training of healthcare professionals in genomic medicine. The programme has three main aims:

1) Support NHS professionals involved in the 100,000 Genomes Project.

2) Support the wider transformation of services to integrate genomics technologies into healthcare.

3) Up skill existing staff so they can make the most of genomic technologies in their work.

The programme will meet these aims through the provision of a range of educational and training resources. For more information, visit our website or contact us.

About our guest hosts

Pooja Dasani Pooja is a Principle Genetic Counsellor working as a genomics education lead at the West Midlands Genomic Medicine Centre. Pooja has had various roles over the last eight years of working for the service including developing education materials and managing a local community genetic counselling project that aimed to transmit genetic risk information across cultural and language barriers. Pooja now works across cancer and general genetics. Pooja is an active member of the Birmingham Women’s hospital operations team for the 100,000 genomes project.

Jonathan Roberts Jonathan is a genetic counsellor who is currently studying for a Ph.D. His project is a collaboration between the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and King's College London. His research uses both qualitative and quantitative methods to explore family communication and genomics. He is particularly interested in the representation of genetics,inheritance and DNA in popular culture and his research explores how families' knowledge and enjoyment of pop culture can be used to facilitate engagement with genomics.

Sue Hatton Sue is a Senior Nursing Policy Manager with Health Education England. Sue trained as a general and children’s nurse and has a wealth of experience working across children’s services. The majority of her strategic work has been within the West Midlands and across London. At Regional Office, Strategic Health Authority, Department of Health and Health Education England, she has held a variety of positions in maternity, child health and nursing across strategy, policy and workforce. She has been fortunate to have been involved or led on a number of national projects around maternity, children’s palliative care, health visiting, general practice nursing and child health. Nurse and midwives will be instrumental in making the significant changes required to embed genomic medicine into healthcare. Sue is currently working within the Genomics Education Programme one day a week to strengthen the nursing and midwifery contribution to genomics. 

Michelle Bishop Dr Michelle Bishop is the Education Development Specialist for HEE’s Genomics Education Programme. She has worked in genetics and genomics education for a number of years, previously working at the NHS National Genetics Education and Development Centre and has a PhD in the field of genetics education. Michelle supports the work of the Genomics Education Programme by providing educational and clinical expertise through resource production, leading curricular development for specialist workforce training and driving the wider NHS workforce transformation in genomics.

Ed Miller Dr Ed Miller is a Senior Education Development Officer for HEE’s Genomics Education Programme. Ed provides scientific and educational support to the programme through development and production of a range of resources for the NHS workforce. Before joining the Genomics Education Programme, Ed researched DNA damage repair and replication and has a PhD from the University Birmingham in this area. During his time as a researcher he gained valuable experience in science communication and public engagement developing, organising and presenting events to educate a wide range of audiences.

  • Follow us