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Doctoral defence of Anndra Parviainen, MSc, 17 Nov 2023: Web-based intervention helps bridge genomics knowledge gaps among nursing students

The doctoral dissertation in the field of Nursing Science will be examined at the Faculty of Health Sciences at Kuopio campus. The public examination will be streamed online.

What is the topic of your doctoral research? Why is it important to study the topic?

Precision medicine is a new approach to healthcare that involves considering the genomic and genetic makeup of individuals. Genomics enables precise screening, early disease detection, and personalised therapeutic approaches. In fact, genomics is already involved in developing care options by understanding the molecular-cellular mechanisms and associated pathophysiological processes of diseases like Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, rare diseases, psychiatry, and pharmacogenomics. 

Genomics integration across the nursing education is an important component to optimise the benefits of precision medicine. The overall purpose of this doctoral study was to develop a tailored, web-based, Genomics Nursing Educational Intervention (GNEI) and investigate the effectiveness in improving the genomics literacy of nursing students. 

What are the key findings or observations of your doctoral research?

During the study, a Genomic Nursing Concepts Inventory (GNCI) was translated and validated in Finnish context. The rigorous approach taken in the translation of the GNCI tool has resulted in a valuable research resource for others to use. 

Using the GNCI tool, nursing students’ genomics literacy was assessed and found to be poor in Finland and Philippines, thus a Genomics Nursing Education Intervention was developed and implemented in Philippines using a randomized controlled trial (RCT) study design. The effectiveness of the intervention was tested five times both in intervention and control groups. The study found statistically significant increase of genomics literacy between the pre-test and post-test GNCI scores of the participants. This implies that the newly developed, tailored, web-based, GNEI showed effectiveness in bridging the genomics knowledge gaps among nursing students.

How can the results of your doctoral research be utilised in practice?

How best to teach nursing students about genomics, has been a key question for researchers and educators for some time. The doctoral work has added to the body of knowledge for evidence-based genomics education. This is important and timely work given the pace of change within healthcare to utilise genomics to inform patient care and improve health outcomes. The health workforce requires sufficient and appropriate knowledge and skills in genomics. 

What are the key research methods and materials used in your doctoral research?

The study consisted of four phases implemented in 20172022: development of the study protocol; translation and linguistic validation of the research instrument; assessment of the genomics literacy of study participants as a basis for the development of a web-based Genomics Nursing Education Intervention (GNEI); and finally an evaluation of the effectiveness of the educational intervention. Mandysova's decision tree algorithm was used in the translation and linguistic validation of Genomics Nursing Concept (GNCI) from English to Finnish. Nursing experts and genetics-genomics specialists from non-nursing profession evaluated the Finnish GNCI before it was piloted to eight nursing students. Genomics literacy of nursing students (n=245) was assessed using an electronic survey. The results were used by the research team to design a web-based educational intervention. In the RCT study, data were collected electronically from January 2020March 2022 in the Philippines. Participants were randomly allocated to intervention group (n = 114) exposed to the newly designed tailored, web-based, GNEI and the control group (n = 114) exposed to the standard genomics education intervention. The intervention lasted 12 weeks and follow-up measurements were carried out after 18 weeks and 26 weeks. Genomics literacy of nursing students was the main outcome variable and was measured in five stages. The secondary outcome was participants' feedback on the GNEI course 12 weeks after the intervention. 

I would like to express my gratitude to the nursing students who voluntarily participated in this study, to my international collaborators from Australia, Czech Republic, Finland, New Zealand, Philippines, and USA, to my supervisors Professor Katri Vehviläinen-Julkunen and Professor Carsten Carlberg, to my loved ones, family and friends. I would like to thank the following research grants and scholarships that I have received during my Ph.D. studies: the Department of Nursing Science, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Eastern Finland; the International Society of Nurses in Genetics (ISONG); the Marja-Terttu Korhonen Foundation; the Finnish Nursing Education Foundation; the Finnish Cultural Foundation North Savo Regional Fund; and the Erasmus+ programme.

The doctoral dissertation of Anndra Parviainen, Master of Science, entitled Genomics-Informed Nursing Education – an intervention study will be examined at the Faculty of Health Sciences. The Opponent in the public examination will be Professor Eija Paavilainen of the University of Tampere, and the Custos will be Professor Katri Vehviläinen-Julkunen of the University of Eastern Finland.

Doctoral defence 



For further information, please contact:

Anndra Parviainen, MSc, anndra.parviainen(a), 0465655424,