What Do Genetic Counselors Do (including Their Typical Day At Work)

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Job Description, Daily Responsibilities, and Work Life.

Job Description

Genetic Counselors assess individual or family risk for a variety of inherited conditions, such as genetic disorders and birth defects. Provide information to other healthcare providers or to individuals and families concerned with the risk of inherited conditions. Advise individuals and families to support informed decisionmaking and coping methods for those at risk. May help conduct research related to genetic conditions or genetic counseling. They also interpret laboratory results and communicate findings to patients or physicians.

Other tasks include:

  • Discuss testing options and the associated risks, benefits and limitations with patients and families to assist them in making informed decisions.
  • Analyze genetic information to identify patients or families at risk for specific disorders or syndromes.
  • Provide counseling to patient and family members by providing information, education, or reassurance.
  • Write detailed consultation reports to provide information on complex genetic concepts to patients or referring physicians.
  • Provide genetic counseling in specified areas of clinical genetics, such as obstetrics, pediatrics, oncology and neurology.
  • Determine or coordinate treatment plans by requesting laboratory services, reviewing genetics or counseling literature, and considering histories or diagnostic data.

We asked Genetic Counselors how satisfied they are with their job. Here is what they said.

Job satisfaction

74%

How meaningful is this job

82%


74% of them said they were satisfied with their job and 82% said they find that their job makes the world a better place or helps to make someone else’s life better.



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Typical Day At Work

On a daily basis, Genetic Counselors discuss testing options and the associated risks, benefits and limitations with patients and families to assist them in making informed decisions. They analyze genetic information to identify patients or families at risk for specific disorders or syndromes.

A typical day for a Genetic Counselor will also include:

  • Provide counseling to patient and family members by providing information, education, or reassurance.
  • Interview patients or review medical records to obtain comprehensive patient or family medical histories, and document findings.
  • Provide genetic counseling in specified areas of clinical genetics, such as obstetrics, pediatrics, oncology and neurology.
  • Provide patients with information about the inheritance of conditions such as cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and various forms of cancer.
  • Determine or coordinate treatment plans by requesting laboratory services, reviewing genetics or counseling literature, and considering histories or diagnostic data.

We asked some Genetic Counselors a few questions to find out what else does their work day look like. Here is what we found.

Do you have telephone conversations everyday in this job?100% said yes
How important is it to work in a team in this job?23% said very important
Do you have group discussions everyday in this job?100% said yes
Do you talk or work with customers everyday in this job?57% said yes
Do you have to deal with angry customers everyday in this job?5% said yes
Do you have to make decisions everyday in this job?52% said yes

Other responsibilities

Besides their typical day, Genetic Counselors also read current literature, talk with colleagues, or participate in professional organizations or conferences to keep abreast of developments in genetics. They may also collect for, or share with, research projects patient data on specific genetic disorders or syndromes.

On a weekly to monthly basis, Genetic Counselors Refer patients to specialists or community resources. They might also Engage in research activities related to the field of medical genetics or genetic counseling.

In addition, they Design and conduct genetics training programs for physicians, graduate students, other health professions or the general community.

Although specific duties may vary, many of them Identify funding sources and write grant proposals for eligible programs or services.

To some Genetic Counselors, it is also their responsibility to Assess patients’ psychological or emotional needs, such as those relating to stress, fear of test results, financial issues, and marital conflicts to make referral recommendations or assist patients in managing test outcomes.


Working life

Working hours

Standard 40 hour work week

Working schedule

Regular schedule like a 9 to 5

In a typical work week as a Genetic Counselor, you can expect to work 40 hour work week.

Do Genetic Counselors work in an office-style work environment?

Every day
83%


Never
17%


Do Genetic Counselors work outdoors?

Never
100%


Once a year
0%



Is this right for me

Best personality for this career

The Helpers and The Thinkers

People who are suitable for this job tends to like working with, communicating with, and teaching people. They like helping or providing service to others..

They also like working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. They like searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

You can read more about these career personality types here.




Learn more about Genetic Counselors

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Related to Genetic Counselors Job Description

Genetic Counselors job description, what do Genetic Counselors do, typical day for Genetic Counselors, what is it like to work as a Genetic Counselor, how many hours do Genetic Counselors work, day to day work of a Genetic Counselor

Additional resources

http://www.bls.gov/OOH/healthcare/genetic-counselors.htm
http://www.abgc.net/ABGC/AmericanBoardofGeneticCounselors.asp
http://www.nsgc.org/
http://www.gceducation.org/Pages/default.aspx


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