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Orthopaedic Nursing:
Ethics

Genetic Testing and Counseling: Selected Ethical Issues

Erlen, Judith A.

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Abstract

As science and technology in genetics continue to expand, complex ethical questions arise that require difficult decisions for all concerned. Rather than having ready-made answers, there may be only more challenging questions for patients, families, and healthcare professionals. These complicated questions may have no straightforward, correct answers, thus creating an ethical quandary.

This article discusses some selected ethical issues that occur when patients are considering undergoing genetic testing and counseling, including respecting autonomy and the patient's right to decide, establishing patient–healthcare provider trust, and disclosing private information to others. Several strategies are presented that nurses can use as they assist patients and their families who are facing these challenging ethical dilemmas.

© 2006 National Association of Orthopaedic Nurses

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