Joe Strohmeyer, Aishwarya Arjunan, Lauren Ryan, Vivian Pan, Catherine Wicklund, Sarah Witherington
A growing percentage of genetic counselors are employed in roles that do not involve direct patient care, commonly in commercial diagnostic laboratories. This study aimed to assess characteristics of laboratory and industry (LI) roles and perceptions of the genetic counseling community's views towards such roles. Members of NSGC and ABGC were invited to participate in this study. Data analysis included descriptive and inferential statistics and select participant quotes are included to highlight key points identified by statistical analyses. Three hundred twenty-six genetic counselors who self-identified as currently or previously working within an LI role responded to the survey. Over 40% of participants reported feeling that they were not perceived positively by colleagues outside of LI settings, and 54% felt that GC colleagues in non-LI roles provided mostly negative commentary about LI GC roles. Over 90% of individuals felt that their employer was a factor in the way they were perceived by others and that this factor carried a bigger weight than job title, work setting, or even professional responsibilities. Qualitative responses from open-ended text questions suggest that while perceptions toward LI roles have improved over time, commentary regarding the “dark side” of genetic counseling persists. To promote the continued, unified growth of the genetic counseling profession and other healthcare professions, it is necessary to address this source of intra-professional conflict.
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