Journal of Genetic Counseling

, Volume 24, Issue 1, pp 6–17 | Cite as

The Utilization of Counseling Skills by the Laboratory Genetic Counselor

  • McKinsey L. Goodenberger
  • Brittany C. Thomas
  • Karen E. Wain
Professional Issues

Abstract

The number of available genetic testing options and the nuances associated with these options continue to expand. In addition, the scope of genetic testing has broadened to areas and specialties beyond Medical Genetics. In response to these changes, diagnostic laboratories have employed genetic counselors to help navigate the increasing complexity of genetic testing, given their expertise and training in human genetics. However a largely unrecognized aspect of this role involves the use of counseling skills. Counseling skills are used by laboratory genetic counselors in a variety of situations to convey information and facilitate understanding among clinicians and medical staff. This helps to reduce test ordering errors, promote optimal test utilization, and ensure best patient care practices. The specific counseling skills used by laboratory counselors will be explored using three fictional case vignettes, followed by a discussion of the applicability of these skills in other contexts. Exploration of the unique ways in which laboratory genetic counselors apply their counseling skills can be useful for professional development and instructive for graduate training programs.

Keywords

Laboratory genetic counseling Laboratory genetic counselor Counseling skills Training program curriculum 

References

  1. Baars, M. J., Henneman, L., & Ten Kate, L. P. (2005). Deficiency of knowledge of genetics and genetic tests among general practitioners, gynecologists, and pediatricians: a global problem. Genetics in medicine : official Journal of the American College of Medical Genetics, 7(9), 605–610.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bellcross, C. A., Kolor, K., Goddard, K. A., Coates, R. J., Reyes, M., & Khoury, M. J. (2011). Awareness and utilization of BRCA1/2 testing among U.S. primary care physicians. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 40(1), 61–66.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bensend, T. A., Veach, P. M., & Niendorf, K. B. (2014). What’s the harm? genetic counselor perceptions of adverse effects of genetics service provision by non-genetics professionals. Journal of Genetic Counseling, 23(1), 48–63.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Brierley, K. L., Blouch, E., Cogswell, W., Homer, J. P., Pencarinha, D., Stanislaw, C. L., & Matloff, E. T. (2012). Adverse events in cancer genetic testing: medical, ethical, legal, and financial implications. Cancer Journal, 18(4), 303–309.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Cavanagh, M., & Levitov, J. (2002). The Counseling Experience, A Theoretical and Practical Approach (2nd ed.). Prospect Heights: Waveland Press, Inc.Google Scholar
  6. Christian, S., Lilley, M., Hume, S., Scott, P., & Somerville, M. (2012). Defining the role of laboratory genetic counselor. Journal of Genetic Counseling, 21(4), 605–611.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Church, J., & McGannon, E. (2000). Family history of colorectal cancer: how often and how accurately is it recorded? Diseases of the Colon and Rectum, 43(11), 1540–1544.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Djurdjinovic, L. (2009). Psychosocial Counseling. In W. R. Uhlmann, J. L. Schuette, & B. M. Yashar (Eds.), A Guide to Genetic Counseling (2nd ed., pp. 133–176). Hoboken: Wiley-Blackwell.Google Scholar
  9. Doksum, T., Bernhardt, B. A., & Holtzman, N. A. (2003). Does knowledge about the genetics of breast cancer differ between nongeneticist physicians who do or do not discuss or order BRCA testing? Genetics in medicine : official Journal of the American College of Medical Genetics, 5(2), 99–105.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Escher, M., & Sappino, A. P. (2000). Primary care physicians’ knowledge and attitudes towards genetic testing for breast-ovarian cancer predisposition. Annals of Oncology, 11(9), 1131–1135.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Green, R. C., Berg, J. S., Grody, W. W., Kalia, S. S., Korf, B. R., Martin, C. L., & Biesecker, L. G. (2013). ACMG recommendations for reporting of incidental findings in clinical exome and genome sequencing. Genetics in Medicine, 15(7), 565–574.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Guttmacher, A. E., Porteous, M. E., & McInerney, J. D. (2007). Educating health-care professionals about genetics and genomics. Nature Reviews. Genetics, 8(2), 151–157.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Harvey, E. K., Fogel, C. E., Peyrot, M., Christensen, K. D., Terry, S. F., & McInerney, J. D. (2007). Providers’ knowledge of genetics: a survey of 5915 individuals and families with genetic conditions. Genetics in medicine : official Journal of the American College of Medical Genetics, 9(5), 259–267.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Hofman, K. J., Tambor, E. S., Chase, G. A., Geller, G., Faden, R. R., & Holtzman, N. A. (1993). Physicians’ knowledge of genetics and genetic tests. Academic Medicine, 68(8), 625–632.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Klitzman, R., Chung, W., Marder, K., Shanmugham, A., Chin, L. J., Stark, M., & Appelbaum, P. S. (2012). Attitudes and practices among internists concerning genetic testing. Journal of Genetic Counseling, 22(1), 90–100.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Kotzer, K. E., Riley, J. D., Conta, J. H., Anderson, C. M., Schahl, K. A., & Goodenberger, M. L. (2014). Genetic testing utilization and the role of the laboratory genetic counselor. Clinica Chimica Acta, 427, 193–195.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. McCarthy Veach, P., LeRoy, B. S., & Bartels, D. M. (2003). Facilitating the Genetic Counseling Process, A Practice Manual. New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  18. Merks, J. H., Caron, H. N., & Hennekam, R. C. (2005). High incidence of malformation syndromes in a series of 1,073 children with cancer. American Journal of Medical Genetics. Part A, 134A(2), 132–143.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. National Society of Genetic Counselors (2000). Professional status survey 2000. Retrieved July 15, 2014 from http://nsgc.org/p/do/sd/sid=2&type=0.
  20. National Society of Genetic Counselors (2014). 2014 Professional status survey. Retrieved July 15, 2014 from http://nsgc.org/p/cm/ld/fid=68.
  21. Northouse, L. L., & Northouse, P. G. (1998). Health Communication: Strategies for Health Professionals (3rd ed.). Stamford: Appleton & Lange.Google Scholar
  22. NSGC 2008-2009 Task Force, -. (n.d.). Core Skills of Genetic Counselors Retrieved 05/30/2012, from http://www.nsgc.org/Home/GeneticCounselorHomePage/SkillsofGeneticCounselors/tabid/365/Default.aspx
  23. Ostrer, H. (1993). 46, XY Disorder of Sex Development and 46, XY Complete Gonadal Dysgenesis. In R. A. Pagon, T. D. Bird, C. R. Dolan, K. Stephens, & M. P. Adam (Eds.), GeneReviews. Seattle: University of Washington, Seattle.Google Scholar
  24. Resta, R., Biesecker, B. B., Bennett, R. L., Blum, S., Hahn, S. E., Strecker, M. N., & Williams, J. L. (2006). A new definition of genetic counseling: national society of genetic Counselors’ task force report. Journal of Genetic Counseling, 15(2), 77–83.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Sandhaus, L. M., Singer, M. E., Dawson, N. V., & Wiesner, G. L. (2001). Reporting BRCA test results to primary care physicians. Genetics in medicine : official Journal of the American College of Medical Genetics, 3(5), 327–334.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Scacheri, C., Redman, J. B., Pike-Buchanan, L., & Steenblock, K. (2008). Molecular testing: improving patient care through partnering with laboratory genetic counselors. Genetics in medicine : official Journal of the American College of Medical Genetics, 10(5), 337–342.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Spitzer Kim, K. (2009). Interviewing: Beginning to See Each Other. In W. R. Uhlmann, J. L. Schuette, & B. M. Yashar (Eds.), A Guide to Genetic Counseling (2nd ed., pp. 71–92). Hoboken: Wiley-Blackwell.Google Scholar
  28. Suther, S., & Goodson, P. (2003). Barriers to the provision of genetic services by primary care physicians: a systematic review of the literature. Genetics in medicine : official Journal of the American College of Medical Genetics, 5(2), 70–76.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Trivers, K. F., Baldwin, L. M., Miller, J. W., Matthews, B., Andrilla, C. H., Lishner, D. M., & Goff, B. A. (2011). Reported referral for genetic counseling or BRCA 1/2 testing among United States physicians: a vignette-based study. Cancer, 117(23), 5334–5343.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Wain, K. E., Riggs, E., Hanson, K., Savage, M., Riethmaier, D., Muirhead, A., & Faucett, W. A. (2012). The laboratory-clinician team: a professional call to action to improve communication and collaboration for optimal patient care in chromosomal microarray testing. Journal of Genetic Counseling, 21(5), 631–637.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Weil, J. (2000). Psychosocial Genetic Counseling. New York: Oxford University Press, Inc.Google Scholar
  32. Zetzsche, L. H., Kotzer, K. E., & Wain, K. E. (2013). Looking back and moving forward: an historical perspective from laboratory genetic counselors. J Genet Couns.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© National Society of Genetic Counselors, Inc. 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • McKinsey L. Goodenberger
    • 1
  • Brittany C. Thomas
    • 2
  • Karen E. Wain
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Cytogenetics, Department of Laboratory Medicine and PathologyMayo ClinicRochesterUSA
  2. 2.Division of Molecular Genetics, Department of Laboratory Medicine and PathologyMayo ClinicRochesterUSA

Personalised recommendations