Genetic Counseling

School of Health and Human Sciences

Genetic Counselors’ Implementation of Self-Care and Self-Awareness
Capstone Project Committee: Lauren Doyle, MGC, CGC, Christy Stanley, MS, CGC, Deborah Wells, MS, CGC
Self-care and self-awareness practices have been recognized for their positive effect in decreasing compassion fatigue and burnout (Newell & MacNeil 2010; Alkema et al. 2008; Gentry 2002).  Both compassion fatigue and burnout are known concerns for the genetic counseling community (Johnstone et al. 2016; Lee et al. 2015; Benoit et al. 2007) and are influencing factors as counselors choose to leave the clinical setting for laboratory positions (NSGC 2016; Dickerson et al. 2015; Injeyan et al. 2011). The present study investigated the self-care and self-awareness practices of 277 practicing genetic counselors by distribution of an online self-designed survey to active members of the National Society of Genetic Counselors.  Self-care and self-awareness practices were commonly implemented by respondents and were reported to improve the counselors’ ability to cope with the emotional impact of the career.  The importance of these practices is investigated along with the availability and benefit of both graduate and professional level training in these practices.  Based on study findings, implications and research recommendations are provided.
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