Online course to help healthcare workers with genetic counselling

ACSC and Futurelearn’s free six-week course will reveal how genetic counselling helps patients understand test results, and what those results can mean for families

Genetic testing is becoming an increasingly fundamental area of healthcare, helping in everything from diagnosis of a problem to determining the chances of a person – or their children – developing a condition.

Given that results of the testing can often be a matter of life and death – whether actual or perceived – it’s little wonder that genetic counselling is a growing field in its own right.

The need for genetic counselling is booming and this free online course introduces it to anyone in the world who is interested.
– Dr Jonathan Roberts, Wellcome Genome Campus

On June 4, Wellcome Genome Campus Advanced Courses and Scientific Conferences opened enrolment for its first online course on the subject. Undertaken in partnership with FutureLearn, ‘What is genetic counselling?’ is designed to teach nurses and other healthcare professionals about the role of counsellors, genetic information’s predictive qualities, and the field’s common ethical issues.

Beginning on June 17, the free six-week course will also reveal how genetic counselling helps patients understand their test results, and what those results can mean for families.


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“Genetic counselling empowers patients to make decisions about their lives and families by helping them understand the genetic information and their risk of disease,” said Dr Jonathan Roberts, pre-registration genetic counsellor at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, and staff scientist at the Wellcome Genome Campus.

“The need for genetic counselling is booming and this free online course introduces it to anyone in the world who is interested. Participants will gain a better understanding of why more genetic counsellors are needed, and find out if they are interested in becoming a genetic counsellor themselves.”

Course organisers predict that it will require approximately two hours study time per week, which learners can complete at their own pace.