Nurse or physician: Whose recommendation influences the decision to take genetic tests more?

Sivia Barnoy*, Ofra Levy, Yoram Bar-Tal

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Aim: This paper is a report of a study conducted to explore factors influencing the decision to take genetic carrier testing. Background: Genetic testing has become a popular means of elucidating the risk of giving birth to a sick/disabled child but what influences prospective parents to take genetic tests or not is unclear. Methods: The study was based on a factorial 2 × 2 × 2 within-between subjects design. The questionnaire presented four scenarios, each illustrating a healthcare worker presenting information on a devastating genetic disease. The variables manipulated were: the health care worker's expertise (novice vs. expert), the recommender's role (nurse vs. physician) and type of recommendation (recommendation vs. no recommendation). After each scenario participants were asked their own intention to take the test and their intention to recommend a friend to take the test. Data were collected in 2007. Results: Altogether 156 questionnaires were collected. Expert nurses and expert physicians were accorded the same level of compliance. However, a novice physician's recommendation to take a genetic test was complied with as much as an expert physician's, whereas a novice nurse's recommendation was less accepted than that of an expert nurse. When no recommendation was made, more compliance with the nurse was found (i.e. less intention to take the test). Conclusion: Genetic information should be presented to the public with caution to avoid over-testing. For the public to accept a nurse's recommendation, the nurse has to be perceived as an expert; therefore, expert nurses' proficiency should be made clear.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)806-813
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Advanced Nursing
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2010


  • Carrier screening
  • Genetic nurse specialist
  • Genetic testing
  • Physician


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