Advertisement

Journal of Genetic Counseling

, Volume 20, Issue 3, pp 217–230 | Cite as

A Model of Professional Development for Practicing Genetic Counselors: Adaptation of Communication Skills Training in Oncology

  • Kate L. Dunlop
  • Kristine Barlow-Stewart
  • Phyllis Butow
  • Paul Heinrich
Professional Issues

Abstract

Ongoing professional development for practicing genetic counselors is critical in maintaining best practice. Communication skills training (CST) workshops for doctors in oncology, utilizing trained actors in role plays, have been implemented for many years to improve patient-centred communication. This model was adapted to provide professional development in counseling skills for practicing genetic counselors, already highly trained in counseling skills. Detailed evidence based scenarios were developed. Evaluation of participants’ experience and perceived outcomes on practice included surveys immediately post workshops (2002, 2004, 2005, 2008 (×2); n = 88/97), 2–5 years later (2007; n = 21/38) and a focus group (2007; n = 7). All rated workshops as effective training. Aspects highly valued included facilitator feedback, actors rather than role-playing with peers and being able to stop and try doing things differently. Perceived outcomes included the opportunity to reflect on practice; bring focus to communication; motivation and confidence. The high level of satisfaction is a strong endorsement for ongoing communication skills training in this format as part of professional development.

Keywords

Genetic counselor professional development Communication skills training 

Notes

Acknowledgements

Special thanks to the genetic counselors and social workers who assisted in the development of scenarios, facilitation of the workshops and who participated in the research. As part of the Cancer Council NSW Strategic Research Partnership (STREP) grant, funding was provided for individual costs for outreach genetic counselors to attend the 2008 full day workshop. The grant also covered the costs of the 2008 conference workshop.

References

  1. Abrams, L. J., & Kessler, S. (2002). The inner world of the genetic counselor. Journal of Genetic Counseling, 11, 5–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Alliman, S., Veach, P. M., Bartels, D. M., Lian, F., James, C., & Leroy, B. S. (2009). A comparative analysis of ethical and professional challenges experienced by U.S genetic counselors. Journal of Genetic Counseling, 18(4), 379–394.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. AGNC Supervision Working Group. (2007). Report from the UK and eire association of genetic nurses and counsellors (AGNC) supervision working group on genetic counseling supervision. Journal of Genetic Counseling, 16, 127–142.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Barrow, H. S. (1971). Simulated patient: The development and use of a new technique in Medical Education. Springfied: Carles C. Thomas.Google Scholar
  5. Barrow, H. S., & Abrahamson, S. (1964). The programmed patient: a technique for appraising student performance in clinical neurology. Journal of Medical Education, 39, 802–805.Google Scholar
  6. Boyle, F. M., Dunn, S. M., & Heinrich, P. (2003). More than one way to foster communication skills for medical oncology fellows: a national program in Australia. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 15, 21(22), 4255.Google Scholar
  7. Cohen-Cole, S. A., Bird, J., & Mance, R. (1995). Teaching with role-play: A structured approach. In M. Lipkin, S. Puitnam, & A. Lacare (Eds.), The Medical Interview; clinical care, education and research. New York: Springer-Verlag.Google Scholar
  8. Donovan, T., Hutchson, T., & Kelly, A. (2003). Using simulated patients in a multiprofessional communications skills programme: reflections from the programme facilitators. European Journal of Cancer Care, 12, 123–128.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Ellington, L., Baty, B. J., McDonald, J., Venne, V., Musters, A., Roter, D., et al. (2006). Exploring genetic counseling communication patterns: the teaching role of teaching and counseling approaches. Journal of Genetic Counselling, 15(3), 179–189.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Fallowfield, L., Jenkins, V., Farewell, V., Saul, J., Duffy, A., & Eves, R. (2002). Efficacy of a cancer research UK communication skills training model for oncologists: a randomized controlled study. Lancet, 359(9307), 650–656.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Fellowes, D., Wilkinson, S., & Moore, P. (2004). Communication skills training for health care professionals working with cancer patients, their families and/or carers. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, (2), CD003751.Google Scholar
  12. Fryer-Edwards, K., Arnold, R. M., Baile, W., Tulsky, J. A., Petracca, F., & Back, A. (2006). Reflective teaching practices: an approach to teaching communication skills in a small-group setting. Academic Medicine, 81(7), 638–644.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Gysels, M., Richardson, A., & Higginson, I. J. (2005). Communication training for health professionals who care for patients with cancer: a systematic review of training methods. Support Care Cancer, 13(6), 356–366.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Hampel, H., Grubs, R. E., Walton, C. S., Nguyen, E., Breidenbach, D. H., Nettles, S., et al. (2009). Genetic counseling practice analysis. Journal of Genetic Counseling, 18(3), 205–16.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Katsichti, L., Hadzipetros-Bardanis, M., & Bartsocas, C. S. (1999). Education and certification of genetic counselors. Genetic Counseling, 10(2), 171–6.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Lenzi, R., Baile, W. F., Berek, J., Back, A., Buckman, R., Cohen, L., et al. (2005). Design, conduct and evaluation of a communication course for oncology fellows. Journal of Cancer Education, 20(3), 143–149.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Lobb, E., Butow, P., Meiser, B., Barratt, A., Gaff, C., Young, M. A., et al. (2004). Communication and information-giving behaviours in high risk breast cancer consultations: influence on patient outcomes. British Journal of Cancer, 90, 321–327.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. McCarthy Veach, P., Bartels, D. M., & LeRoy, B. S. (2007). Coming full circle: a reciprocal-engagement model of genetic counseling practice. Journal of Genetic Counseling, 16, 713–728.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Meiser, B., Irle, J., Lobb, E., & Barlow-Stewart, K. (2008). Assessment of the content and process of genetic counseling: a critical review of empirical studies. Journal of Genetic Counseling, 15(5), 434–451.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Merckaert, I., Libert, Y., & Razavi, D. (2005). Communication skills training in cancer care: where are we and where are we going? Current Opinion in Oncology, 17(4), 319–330.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Metcalfe, S., Jacques, A., Archibald, A., Burgess, T., Collins, V., Henry, A., et al. (2008). A model for offering carrier screening for fragile X syndrome to nonpregnant women: results from a pilot study. Genetics in medicine, 10(7), 525–535.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Novack, D. H., Dube, C. D., & Goldstein, M. G. (1992). Teaching medical interviewing. A basic course on interviewing and the physician-patient relationship. Archives of Internal Medicine, 152, 1814–1820.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Pieterse, A. H., van Dulmen, A. M., Beemer, F. A., Ausems, M. G., & Bensing, J. M. (2006). Tailoring communication in cancer genetic counseling through individual video-supported feedback: a controlled pretest-posttest design. Patient Education and Counseling, 60(3), 326–335.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Rantanen, E., Hietala, M., Kristoffersson, U., Nippert, I., Schmidtke, J., Sequeiros, J., et al. (2008). What is ideal genetic counseling? A survey of current international guidelines. European Journal of Human Genetics, 16, 445–452.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Resta, R. G. (2006). Defining and redefining the scope and goals of genetic counseling. American Journal of Human Genetics Part C, 142C, 269–275.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Roter, D., Ellington, L., Erby, L. H., Larson, S., & Dudley, W. (2006) The Genetic Counseling Video Project (GCVP): models of practice. Am J Med Genet C Semin Med Genet, 15;142 C(4):209−220.Google Scholar
  27. Runyon, M., Zahm, K., McCarthy Veach, P., MacFarlane, I. & LeRoy, B. (2010). What do Genetic Counselors Learn on the job? A Qualitative Assessment of Professional Development Outcomes. Journal of Genetic Counseling. Published online 19 March 2010.Google Scholar
  28. Siebert, D. (2008). Secrets to creating effective and interesting educational experiences: tips and suggestions for clinical educators. Journal of Genetic Counseling, 17, 152–160.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Stiefel, F., Barth, J., Bensing, J., Fallowfield, L., Jost, L., Razavi, D., et al. (2010). Communication skills training in oncology: a position paper based on a consensus meeting among European experts in 2009. Annals of Oncology, 21, 204–201.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Thomas, J., & Harden, A. (2008). Methods for the thematic synthesis of qualitative research in systematic reviews. BMC Medical Research Methodology, 8, 45.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Zahm, K. W. (2010). Professional development: Reflective genetic counseling practice. In B. S. LeRoy, P. McCarthy Veach, & D. M. Bartels (Eds.), Genetic counseling practice: Advanced concepts and skills (pp. 353–380). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  32. Zahm, K., McCarthy, P., & LeRoy, B. S. (2008). An investigation of genetic counselor experiences in peer group supervision. Journal of Genetic Counseling, 17(3), 220–233.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© National Society of Genetic Counselors, Inc. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kate L. Dunlop
    • 1
  • Kristine Barlow-Stewart
    • 1
    • 2
  • Phyllis Butow
    • 3
  • Paul Heinrich
    • 4
  1. 1.Centre for Genetics Education NSW HealthRoyal North Shore HospitalSydneyAustralia
  2. 2.Sydney Medical SchoolUniversity of SydneySydneyAustralia
  3. 3.School of PsychologyUniversity of SydneySydneyAustralia
  4. 4.Pam McLean Cancer Communications CentreUniversity of SydneySydneyAustralia

Personalised recommendations