After almost completing the first week of my official Genetic Counseling education, I can’t stop myself from thinking about all the accomplishments to be had in the next two years of life. This may be nerd status, but, regardless of all the readings, presentations, exams, quizzes, (insert more school-related “to-do” items), the overwhelming feelings I am experiencing are from pure excitement. (If everything goes according to plan) I will become a Genetic Counselor in two years. My pursuit of the profession is HOT.
Which also brings me to the question of…”why am I in pursuit of this profession?” We recently had a class discussion of, likely, the most difficult question we have been asked…”What is a Genetic Counselor?” (or any other version of the sort.) Most of us want to respond with…”well, do you have a few minutes?” To us, a brief description does not serve enough justice for something we are all striving to become.
Since Genetic Counseling is a multi-faceted profession, I believe there are different aspects that attracted each of us. Personally, I am attracted to the magical blend of psychosocial support and transfer of medical knowledge, or more essentially communicating and delivering important information without neglecting that the receiving end of this information is a human and has a perception of feelings. With this, it is difficult to refer to the role of the counselor in terms of one stoic job. Each individual is unique and quite literally the only version of themselves (as evidenced at the DNA level!) and their feelings and reactions are far from being predicted. In counseling sessions of two seemingly identical cases, the counselor role can range from support system to fact deliverer.
It is this vast role of a Genetic Counselor that adds to the difficulty of producing a sufficient answer to what we are. I advise that if you were to Google this question, please delve deeper than just the surface display of responses given (I’m sorry, “web defintion”, but we are much more than “guidance for prospective parents on the likelihood of genetic disorders in their future children” – we tackle pediatrics and adult specialties as well!) Although I’m partial to NSGC, or National Society of Genetic Counselors, their website provides an excellent description of the profession and beyond here. Take time and check out the rest of the website, as well, because there are more great things to observe (like press releases under the “Media” tab – nerd status again!)
Are you in pursuit of a Genetic Counseling degree or considering the profession? What is it that has caught your interest? We love hearing about other individuals’ passions, no matter what they are (even if they aren’t centered around Genetic Counseling!)