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Knowledge Deficit of Sickle Cell Trait Status

Can Nurses Help?

Arhin, Afua O., PhD, RN

doi: 10.1097/CNQ.0000000000000254
Original Articles

Sickle cell disease and sickle cell trait are identified through universal newborn screening, which has been implemented in all hospitals across the United States since the 1970s. Yet, studies report that only 16% of Americans with sickle cell trait know their status. Despite these striking statistics, there appears to be no standardized methods for reporting positive sickle cell trait results of newborn screening to doctors or families of affected persons. This article will demonstrate how current literature supports the gaps in knowledge of trait status and its implications as well as knowledge deficit of inheritance patterns of prospective parents. The article will also elucidate how knowledge deficit in this subject adversely affects primary prevention strategies including genetic counseling. Primary prevention of sickle cell disease is a public health area that can be championed by registered nurses who have the tools and experiences to effectively handle case management and patient education.

School of Nursing, Fayetteville State University, Fayetteville, North Carolina.

Correspondence: Afua O. Arhin, PhD, RN, School of Nursing, Fayetteville State University, 1200 Murchison Rd, Fayetteville, NC 28301 (

The author has disclosed that she has no significant relationships with, or financial interest in, any commercial companies pertaining to this article.

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