Please note: there may be some adjustments to the teaching arrangements published in the course catalogue for 2020-21. Given current circumstances related to the Covid-19 pandemic it is anticipated that some usual arrangements for teaching on campus will be modified to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students and staff on campus; further adjustments may also be necessary, or beneficial, during the course of the academic year as national requirements relating to management of the pandemic are revised.

Genetic Counselling Placement 2 MED5424

  • Academic Session: 2022-23
  • School: School of Medicine Dentistry and Nursing
  • Credits: 40
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: No
  • Available to Erasmus Students: No

Short Description

This six week full time placement (minimum 220 hours) in a genetics centre will allow students to observe clinical practice in a variety of contexts, in a different location from Placement 1, and to undertake relevant tasks under supervision, for example providing appropriate case management from initial workup to any required follow-up for some cases.


Work placement

Requirements of Entry

Successful completion of Genetic Counselling Placement 1


Students will keep a log book of observed cases in line with GCRB and EBMG core competences, including a record of practice hours. The placement supervisor will hold a debriefing session with the student at the end of the placement to discuss achievement against the supervisor checklist of objectives. In consultation with colleagues who have worked with the student, the supervisor will generate an outcomes-based assessment to indicate how well the student has performed in relation to the learning objectives (60%).


The student will use this as a basis from which to generate a reflective portfolio of about 2,000 words that discusses their experience and reflects in detail on three cases into which they have had input (30%).


After the placement finishes the students will meet as a group, firstly with one of the NHS programme leads to discuss practical aspects and challenges experienced during the placements, and secondly students will meet as a group with a counselling supervisor to share emotional challenges within the genetic counselling placements. Each student will then generate a short report explaining how they dealt with one challenging situation at the time, and, on reflection, how they would deal with a similar situation in the future (10%).

Course Aims

Students will work under supervision within a clinical team that is delivering a genetic service to enable the student to observe and discuss best practice and to develop their own skills as a future genetic counsellor, and subsequently discuss and share placement experiences, facilitated by one of the NHS lead team, to further develop their knowledge and skills.

The course aims to provide an opportunity for students to build on their skills already developed in placement 1 so that they have developed counselling skills relevant to the Core Competences for Genetic Counsellors as described by the Association of Genetic Nurses and Counsellors and the European Board of Medical Genetics Core Competences (upon which the learning objectives have been worded).

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ Establish a relationship with clients and elicit client's concerns and expectations;

■ Elicit and interpret appropriate medical, family and psychosocial history;

■ Communicate complex information, with the use of methods appropriate to different situations and different levels of understanding, to individuals and families affected by genetic conditions;

■ Explain the options available to the client, including risks, benefits and limitations of such options;

■ Document information including case notes and correspondence in an appropriate manner;

■ Identify and respond to emerging issues of a client or family;

■ Acknowledge the implications of individual and family experiences, beliefs, values and culture for the genetic counselling process;

■ Make a psychosocial assessment of client's needs and resources and provide support, ensuring referral to other agencies as appropriate;

■ Use a range of counselling skills to facilitate client's adjustment and decision-making;

■ practice as a genetic counsellor in a variety of health care settings liaising with colleagues out with clinical genetics; 

■ Establish effective working relationships to function within a multi-disciplinary genetics team, and as part of the wider health and social care network, including education, social services and the voluntary sector;

■ Recognise and maintain professional boundaries;

■ Demonstrate reflective skills within the counselling context and in personal awareness for the safety of clients and their families;

■ Practice in accordance with the Association of Genetic Nurses and Counsellors (AGNC) Code of Ethics and the European Board of Medical Genetics Core Competencies;

■ Recognise his/her own limitations in knowledge and capabilities, and discuss with colleagues, recognising when it is necessary to refer clients to others;

■ Make appropriate and accurate genetic risk assessments for clinical cases;

■ Manage and prioritise own case load to ensure high quality patient care and safety, including communicating complex information to colleagues, interpreting results, updating databases and maintaining accurate records

■ Identify, synthesize, organise and summarise relevant medical and genetic information that could be used in genetic counselling for specific cases;

■ Investigate recent literature relevant to conditions seen in clinical cases, and use this to reflect critically on both optimal current management and directions which may be taken in future management of similar cases.  



Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.