What is Genetic Counselling?
23 August 2021–23 August 2022
FutureLearn platform, online
Learn about genetic counselling and how to become a genetic counsellor with this online course for healthcare professionals.
- Duration: This course is available continuously, with occasional facilitation periods. The next facilitation period is from 11 October for 6 weeks.
- Certificate of achievement available on satisfactory completion
- Start Date: The course is run ‘live’ for 6 weeks from the start date above. Once this period is over there will be no live monitoring of the forums, but you can still join and complete the course at any point in the year.
Why join the course?
Who are genetic counsellors? Who has genetic counselling and what does a genetic counsellor do? On this course, you will find the answers to these questions whilst learning about the role of genetic counselling in healthcare and the genomic era.
You will discover why people seek genetic counselling and how it compares in different contexts and countries. You will explore the main skills and knowledge needed of a genetic counsellor, as well as their key responsibilities to patients. You will also discuss the ethical issues of genetic counselling, and its varied opportunities and challenges for the future.
Who is the course for?
This course is designed for healthcare professionals, clinicians, biomedical research scientists, and anyone curious about genetic counselling.
Although not required, a basic knowledge of genetics, genetic testing technologies, and inheritance patterns would help support your learning on this course.
What topics will you cover?
- Why people would see a genetic counsellor
- Some of a genetic counsellor’s key tasks
- A genetic counsellor’s key skills and knowledge: counselling skills, medical and scientific knowledge
- Ethical issues in genetic counselling
- What the future might hold for genetic counsellors
What will you achieve?
By the end of the course, you’ll be able to…
- Identify why people have genetic counselling and the different contexts in which people receive genetic counselling
- Describe the different skills and knowledges needed by genetic counsellors
- Compare genetic counselling in different contexts and different countries
- Reflect on some ethical issues that arise in genetic counselling
- Discuss the role of genetic counselling in healthcare as we enter the ‘genomic era’.
What software or tools do you need?
No specific software, hardware or other resources are required to complete the course.
I am the Chair of the Association of Genetic Nurses and Counsellors in the UK and ROI (2018/19) and Head of Wellcome Connecting Science Society and Ethics Research, Cambridge, UK
I am a pre-registration genetic counsellor at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge. I am also a Staff Scientists at Wellcome Connecting Science Society and Ethics Research.
What do people say about this course?
“What a great course. Perfect introduction to genetic counselling. This has given me a very real insight into the work that is carried out prior to my role in a genetic testing laboratory. Also overwhelming to think of the hours that go into the counselling sessions, ensuring patients are prepared, informed and able to make their own decisions.” – Previous Participant
“Thank you very much for such an informative, enjoyable and though-provoking course. I have learnt a lot during these six weeks and I definitely know more now than I did prior to starting! I am glad to say that this has increased my interest in Genetic counselling as a profession and am very likely going to pursue it as a career.” – Previous Participant
“Thank you Anna and Jonathan for a very interesting course, I have enjoyed the role play as it allowed me to be in the GC and clients shoes, and discussing my thoughts/comments with my fellow learners, and learning about the difference in other countries that was shared. Kept me gripped learning something new.” – Previous Participant
“It has been a great and interesting time in the last six weeks. Understanding the personal feelings/ views of patients (autonomy, empathy, patience, etc), professional ways of communication in GC, ethics of GC, with the professional know how of the Genetic Counsellors; the different contexts of Genetic Services in different countries, and also sharing the view of my co-learners, has been a great experience. These will greatly assist in the discharge of my duties to the the patients as I come across them whether at my duty post or elsewhere.” – Previous Participant
The Wellcome Connecting Science Courses and Conferences team are offering everyone who joins this course a free digital upgrade, so that you can experience the full benefits of studying online for free. This means that you get:
- Unlimited access to this course
- Includes any articles, videos, peer reviews and quizzes
- Tests to validate your learning
- A PDF Certificate of Achievement to prove your success when you’re eligible