elena flowers

As genomic medicine becomes more and more the mainstream of medical practice, nursing staff will increasingly find themselves one the front lines answering patient questions and delivering genome-based services.

When considering how advanced nursing students in the school would be likely to integrate genomic technology into clinical practice, Elena Flowers, assistant professor in physiological nursing at the UCSF School of Nursing, decided to get her own genome sequenced. 

“My goal is to have my students start thinking about how they’re going to respond to their patients who are coming into clinic with these kinds of questions and these kinds of test results,” she explains in this short film made by the School of Nursing. “I’m not sure that we’re ready to train people how to interpret the results.”

Alongside the professional benefits of experiencing a genome sequence first-hand, Elena also had to explore some deeply personal questions about the impact that sequencing would have on her family and in particular her young children.

“I really don’t know what I think about it,” she says. “I think I just need to have the experience. It’s very hard for me to anticipate how I will feel.”

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