Genetic Counselling Practice

Subject PAED90021 (2011)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2011.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2011:

Year Long, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 12 weeks (2 x 2-hour sessions per week)
Total Time Commitment: Not available
Prerequisites: Successful completion of first year subjects.
Corequisites: N/A
Recommended Background Knowledge: N/A
Non Allowed Subjects: N/A
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry. The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the 3 Disability Liaison Unit website : 4


Dr Jan Hodgson,
Subject Overview: This subject provides an extension of the clinical practice subjects by providing breadth and depth through discussion and reflection of issues arising in the placements. Genetic knowledge attained in year 1 will be reviewed and built upon through group discussion. Critical reflective practice will be enhanced through discussion and consideration of issues that are presented by students, arising in their clinical practice. Students will be encouraged to develop self awareness, the ability to critically evaluate practice and to enhance practice and genetic knowledge skills through extensive reading. This subject will develop the skills of ethical reflective genetic counselling practice.

This subject has 6 modules which will form the basis for structured discussion and guided reading of theory and practice. Each module is for 4 weeks. Tutorials will be facilitated by genetic counsellors and may include clinical geneticists, social workers, people with genetic conditions and their families and other professionals from the community and within the health care system.

The modules are:
1) Communicating Risk
2) Breaking bad news
3) Managing challenging situations
4) Dealing with uncertainty
5) Facilitating decision making
6) Advanced genetic counselling skills

The mode of study will be through:
• Case discussion facilitated by a genetic counsellor
• Student journal club presentation of relevant articles
• Video role plays using an actor as the client, with feedback from practitioners
• Consideration of theoretical models with counselling and communication practice. Relevant community resources will also be considered

Objectives: This subject is designed to enable students to:
• Articulate and critically evaluate models of practice and counselling through guided reading.
• Continue to develop self awareness through participation in group supervision.
• Critically reflect on the ethical and other issues that arise in genetic counselling practice and their impact on the clients.

End of semester 2.5 hour exam (60%), approximately 1500 word written assignment (30%), and class participation / in class assessments (10%). Students are expected to complete all in class assessments.

Prescribed Texts: Students will be notified in Course Handbook after enrolment.
Recommended Texts:
  • Thompson MW, McInnes RR, Willad HF (2001) Thompson and Thompson Genetics in Medicine (6th edition), WB Saunders
  • Jorde LB, Carey JC, White RL. (1999) Medical Genetics (2nd Edition), Mosby Press
  • Gelherter TD, Collins FS, Ginsburg D (1998) Principles of Medical Genetics (2nd Edition), USA: Williams and Wilkins

Other references:

  • Young ID (1999) Introduction to Risk Calculation in Genetic Counselling (2nd Edition), Oxford University Press
  • Korf BR (2000) Human Genetics: A Problem-Based Approach (2nd Edition), Carlton: Blackwell Science
  • Gardner RJM and Sutherland GR (2004) Chromosome Abnormalities and Genetic Counselling (3rd Edition), Oxford Monographs, New York: Oxford University Press
  • Harper PS (2004) Prctical Genetic Counselling (6th Edition), John Wright
  • Trent RJ (1997) Molecular Medicine: An introductory text (2nd Edition), New York: Chruchill Livingstone
  • Strachan T and Read AP (2004) Human Molecular Genetics (3rd Edition), Thomson Publishing Services

A subject reference list will be provided. Library available with selected texts within GHSV.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills: On completing the subject students should be able to:
• Identify and understand theories of counselling relevant to genetic counselling.
• Identify the issues of genetic counselling that impact on individuals and families who come for genetic counselling.
• Reflect on the issues that in particular impact on their own practice, and consider how to address these within an ethical framework.
• Continue to develop their genetic knowledge through discussion, reading and tutor teaching
• Engage in group supervision and develop the ability to relate to peers in a critically constructive manner.
Related Course(s): Master of Genetic Counselling

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