Genetic Counseling

School of Health and Human Sciences

Burnout and Workplace Isolation in Laboratory Genetic Counselors
Capstone Project Committee:
Jordan Dix, MS, CGC, Randi Stewart, MS, CGC, Leah Williams 
Laboratory genetic counseling is a rapidly growing field with novel challenges. Neither burnout nor workplace isolation has been explored in laboratory genetic counselors (GCs), though previous studies identified that non-laboratory GCs were at increased risk for burnout and non-genetic counseling populations were at increased risk of workplace isolation when working remotely. A survey was distributed to the NSGC membership and included demographic questions and validated metrics to measure workplace isolation and burnout. Nonparametric analysis methods including Kendall rank correlation coefficient and the Wilcoxon signed-rank test were utilized to determine correlation and significant differences between burnout subscales, workplace isolation subscales, and demographic characteristics. This study revealed that a minority of respondents exhibited high levels of burnout (high emotional exhaustion (EE) 21.3%, high depersonalization (DP) 12.3%, low personal accomplishment (PA) 12.3%) and workplace isolation (high colleague isolation 3.57%, high company isolation 4.76%). Working remotely was a risk factor for higher levels of burnout related to EE and DP as well as for higher levels of colleague isolation. Age and years of experience were found to correlate with higher levels of DP and lower levels of PA in younger GCs. The availability of professional development opportunities was found to correlate with lower levels of company isolation. This study supports the need for employers to provide resources and intervention to reduce or prevent the effects of burnout and workplace isolation among laboratory GCs. Laboratory GCs also should be aware of risk factors for burnout and workplace isolation and seek support when needed.
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