Characterization of the Practice and Attitudes of Genetic Counselors with Doctoral Degrees
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Potential advantages and disadvantages of doctoral training in genetic counseling have been debated. In this study, individual interviews were conducted to characterize the practice and attitudes of genetic counselors who have achieved doctoral degrees in any field. Participants (N=31) were more likely to spend time in research and less likely to spend time in clinic than genetic counselors in general. Advantages identified by participants were consistent with theorized advantages, and included increased knowledge, wider research roles, additional opportunities and greater respect. Disadvantages identified by participants focused more on individual perspectives than previously theorized profession-wide disadvantages. These included increased time commitment and decreased patient contact. The attitudes of participants towards the development of doctoral training in genetic counseling were generally positive. The results suggest that doctoral training in genetic counseling would have more benefits than drawbacks for individuals pursuing this degree.
KEY WORDSgenetic counselors doctoral degree research professional development
This project was supported by funding from the Genetic Counseling Graduate Program of the University of Cincinnati and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.
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