The Role of Nurses in Newborn Screening



On 12th May the International Nurses Day, The ZB Foundation takes pride in the fact that our Newborn Screening (NBS) program would not have been a success if the field staff and nurses with whom we are associated were not as honest and ethical in their work. Today, we thank them for their work and cooperation with us to promote our cause across the nation.

Their commitment to protecting, promoting, and improving health care for all should be well recognized because they serve the public in a wide range of roles and work settings. Like the medical practitioners cannot do anything without research scientists, they cannot do anything without the nurses and the field staff. Unfortunately, many people seem to think that the most important people in the healthcare system are the doctors, but this is simply not true. Ever the underdog, nurses play a key role in all of our medical institutions, being responsible for the welfare, safety and recovery of patients.

Advanced biomedical and genetic technologies are transforming Newborn Screening (NBS) programs. Nurses who work with families across perinatal care settings require knowledge of the policies that guide NBS practices and the controversies posed by the rapid application of genetic research to NBS. When we visit new hospitals and lab settings, we provide an overview of NBS, outline challenges generated by expansion of NBS programs, and discuss implications for the nurses, nurse practitioners, and midwives in clinical practice and education.

Nurses face several challenges with the expansion of newborn screening programs. This includes gaining knowledge to answer questions posed by empowered parents and educate them appropriately; ensuring quality of the process that minimizes errors and optimal communication; and, addressing ethical concerns about the storage and subsequent use of specimens.


The International Council of Nurses (ICN) has celebrated this day since 1965. In 1953 Dorothy Sutherland, an official with the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare, proposed that President Dwight D. Eisenhower proclaim a “Nurses’ Day”; he did not approve it. In January 1974, 12 May was chosen to celebrate the day as it is the anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing. Each year, ICN prepares and distributes the International Nurses’ Day Kit. The kit contains educational and public information materials, for use by nurses everywhere.

  • Who was Florence Nightingale?

Nightingale came to prominence while serving as a manager of nurses trained by her during the Crimean War, where she organized the tending to wounded soldiers at night. The English nurse became known as the founder of professional nursing, especially due to her pioneering work during the Crimean War (1853-1856). Due to her habit of making rounds at night, Nightingale became known as “The Lady with the Lamp”.






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