Most people are familiar with the words ‘genetic’ and ‘counsellor’. However, when I put them together and tell someone that it describes my future job, I usually get a puzzled look in response. There are only about 300 genetic counsellors in the UK, compared with over 300 000 NHS nurses, so it is not a well-known role. Although I am currently training to become one, I still find it difficult to explain what it means to be a genetic counsellor.
I usually explain that genetic counsellors are healthcare professionals who help people understand how genetics is involved in different illnesses, and what this could mean for themselves and other family members. It may seem like quite a niche field, but there is a growing need for people with scientific backgrounds to support individuals going through the potentially overwhelming process of genetic testing.
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