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Top 25 Genetic Counseling Interview Questions

Why should someone see a genetic counselor?
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Question 2 of 25
How do you explain to patients that just because they are tested for having a higher chance of receiving a certain disease, doesn't necessarily mean you will have that disease?
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"I had a patient come in to see me who was distraught that she tested positive for the Alzheimer's gene. While she did not present any symptoms, she was worried that she would turn out like her grandfather who was helpless and delusional as he aged. She started crying and panicking. I told her that just because she tests positive does not mean that she will have the disease but yes it does increase her chances. I also set up an appointment with a neurologist so that he could refer her to support groups and talk to her about potential clinical trials. More importantly, I let her know that it is difficult to predict the future and we could potentially have a cure by the time she expresses the disease. This did seem to calm her down and make her realize that she should enjoy today and worry about tomorrow when it gets here."
For this question, you can talk about a specific example and then follow it up with how you handled the situation.
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Question 3 of 25
What was the toughest symptom you've had to tell a family regarding their child? Why was this challenging, and how did you handle it?
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"I had to tell parents of a young boy that he had Klinefelter's (XXY - trisomy disorder) and he would not be able to have biological children of his own. Furthermore, there might be a chance that he could develop some mild female behaviors and characteristics when he hits puberty. It was difficult to see the parents get emotional as I explained the disorder but I stayed calm and offered any guidance that I could - articles pertaining to the syndrome, local support groups and some things to think about as the boy grows up."
Show the interviewer how you have handled difficult patient confrontations.
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Question 4 of 25
What was the most difficult situation you've dealt with in the past, work-related or otherwise?
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This is a great way to show the interviewer how you have resolved obstacles in the past. It is always better to focus on work-related situations especially in interview settings.
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Question 5 of 25
What was the most significant birth defect you have noticed before?
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Question 6 of 25
What appeals to you about the role of genetic counselor? Why did you choose this career?
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Question 7 of 25
Genetic testing is a critical decision for any individual. How will you ease their mind and walk them through the process?
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Question 8 of 25
Give me an example of how you have communicated effectively in the past.
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Question 9 of 25
What do you think will be the most exciting part of being a genetic counselor?
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Question 10 of 25
Tell me about your education. How has it helped you with genetics?
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Question 11 of 25
Have you completed or thought about completing your certification from the American Board of Genetic Counselors?
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Question 12 of 25
Talk to me about your undergraduate work. Did you take any specific classes that are helpful for your career as a genetic counselor?
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Question 13 of 25
Tell me about your experience shadowing a GC.
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Question 14 of 25
What tools do you use to efficiently manage your time?
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Question 15 of 25
Are you actively interviewing with other facilities or hospitals?
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Question 16 of 25
What types of genetic testing are you most familiar with?
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Question 17 of 25
What is your biggest weakness?
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Question 18 of 25
Have you done any volunteering work? How do you think this benefits your career?
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Question 19 of 25
During patient visits, you will be dealing with patients as they go through difficult times. How can you ensure me you are capable of this?
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Question 20 of 25
Describe your work style.
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Question 21 of 25
Talk about the challenges you have had working with physicians.
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Question 22 of 25
Tell me about your personality. What qualities do you have that are suitable for this career?
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Question 23 of 25
If I found out my genome doubles my risk of breast cancer, should I have a preventive mastectomy?
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Question 24 of 25
How will you handle a customer that is uneasy about receiving their genetic diagnosis?
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Question 25 of 25
What are your hobbies?
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User-Submitted Interview Answers

Question 1 of 25
Why should someone see a genetic counselor?
User-Submitted Answers
1.
Someone should visit a genetic counselor if they've received abnormal results from a prenatal testing or an amniocentesis, if inherited conditions run in their family, or if they have a child with a genetic disorder.
2.
Someone should visit a genetic counselor if they've received abnormal results from a prenatal testing or an amniocentesis, if inherited conditions run in their family, or if they have a child with a genetic disorder.
3.
To gain knowledge of their issues.
4.
To learn more about deleterious inherited family traits.
5.
Genetic counselors are there to equip patients with information about genetic information in a way that provides them with the tools to make positive decisions about their health and their family's health.
6.
To assess their risk of inheritable and genetic diseases and disorders.
Question 2 of 25
How do you explain to patients that just because they are tested for having a higher chance of receiving a certain disease, doesn't necessarily mean you will have that disease?
User-Submitted Answers
1.
I would show them the probability of developing the disease based on statistical knowledge.
2.
I would explain the probability of them having it using the numbers. Taking the test does not state that you have it, it is simply an inquiry to whether or not you do. I would also down play the drama of the situation.
3.
I would explain to them using the aid of graphs and charts if possible, as visual aids go a long way on assisting the explanation of complicated medcial concepts, what it means to have a certain probablity of inherting a condition, and also stress to them that there is also a distinct prob that they will not inherit the condition. Important for me to establish what my patients understanding of the particular condition is, and if their understadning is conseirbably poor, I would prob go into a lengthly explanation of what condition is, its pattern of inheritance before going into the more statistical side of it. After the more medical side of the disussion, I would be keen to recommend support group if there are available, so they can speak to other people who are at higher risk of inherting the condition, and be able to find some mutual support from that avenue.
4.
I would use the science behind this to guide me and make sure I can explain it very simply.
5.
The risk estimated in your case is comparatively higher to the general population but that does not indiacte you will have the disease. The disease may not be solely determined by a genetic component. Say lung cancer, unless you have a smoking habit even if the mutation has been passed down you most likely wont get the disease. So you have nothing to worry about.
6.
Depends how condition is inherited. May be 50/50 chance.
7.
I find the best way to deliver information that may be confusing to someone with the medical knowledge to understand how that may be, is to give them written material that they can draw on after the session to help absorb and reiterate what has been said to them.
8.
I would first explain to them that they did in fact test for having a high chance or receiving the disease, However, immediately after I would explain that although they have a high chance, this does not necessarily mean that they will get the disease. Often, complex non-mendilian diseases will need a second hit to prevail and therefore there will be measures available to reduce the chances of actually getting the disease and in order to comfort the patients, I would explain these and refer them to the appropriate professionals.
9.
I would outline the probability of them getting the disease using staistical data and explaining it in a way they could understand.
10.
The risk associated with having a this disorder based on this single gene change is not 100%. It increases the chance of having the disorder, but there is also a chance that you may not have the disorder.
11.
I would explain to them what a carrier of a disease is, and how some diseases are recessive or dominant, and others are displayed more or less due to contributing factors.
12.
The disease can be recessive which means that even though they are a carrier for the disease does not mean they will have the disease. Its a 1/4 chance.
13.
Especially with the increase in ease of genetic testing, an aspect of the job role of a genetic counsellor is to make sure that patients understand the risk. This could be done by explaining risk in a variety of different ways, as a percentage for example, or as a fraction. You could make sure you’ve also told them the fraction the other way round, to make sure they are clear of this. You should consider repeating this more than once to ensure the information has gone in, and to directly ask them if they understand the information they have been given.
14.
The test only tells them the possibility of them developing the disease in the future according to their genetic predispositions. It is not a certainty that just because they have the specific genes, they will develop the disease.
15.
Discuss statistics and how those chances translate to actuality as well as medical means to diminish the chances of acquiring a specific disease, if possible.
Question 3 of 25
What was the toughest symptom you've had to tell a family regarding their child? Why was this challenging, and how did you handle it?
User-Submitted Answers
1.
At St Peters, we once saw a patient with down syndrome who came with her mother who only spoke spanish. Although the prognosis of children with down syndrome isn't typically as poor as some other diseases, it was clear the mother was not familiar with the disease at all. It was tough explaining to her the possibility of her child having delayed development & poor behavior regulation as she was receiving all the information at once.
2.
That they will not be able to work and go to school as a normal child due to significant intellectual disability. Angelman syndrome.
3.
I do not have much experience with this.
4.
That in addition to having downs syndrome, their infant would require open heart surgery.
Question 4 of 25
What was the most difficult situation you've dealt with in the past, work-related or otherwise?
User-Submitted Answers
1.
Knowing that a child I coached on swim team had a slew of mental health disorders that explained her behavioral problems. It was hard to know that she couldnt help how she acted and not let the other kids know because I was told the information confidentially.
2.
The most difficult situation I dealt with in the past was growing up with a physical disability. Having to miss school for chemotherapy treatments prevented me from bonding with a lot of my classmates. Having a physical disability also made me more subject to bullying than other kids. But overall, I was able to bounce back. I've decided to work as sort of a mentor in numerous different areas & realized that my disease never defined me. I plan to use my experiences to be able to better relate to & sympathize with my patients.
3.
The death of my father. He died 3 years ago of prostate cancer. He was my role model. He instilled the love for science.
4.
I found it very difficult when my sister, who is just two years older than me, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer after previously having been diagnosed with breast cancer. She is my only sister so the thought of losing her was really scary. Given my training as a genetic counselor, I also knew that it was critical for her to consider having genetic testing because of the potential implications for me, my daughter and other women in our family. I had been talking to her about it since a few years after her breast cancer diagnosis but she did not want to do it; she just wanted to move on, which was completely understandable.
5.
I found it very difficult when my sister, who is just two years older than me, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer after previously having been diagnosed with breast cancer. She is my only sister so the thought of losing her was really scary. Given my training as a genetic counselor, I also knew that it was critical for her to consider having genetic testing because of the potential implications for me, my daughter and other women in our family. I had been talking to her about possible testing for a few years after her breast cancer diagnosis but she did not want to do it; she just wanted to move on, which was completely understandable. My sister is a nurse and while she might not be well versed in genetics, she had enough knowledge to understand what I was telling her. However, after the ovarian cancer diagnosis, I knew I had to discuss the situation again, especially since we also have colon cancer in our family. I also knew that I could not insist, as ultimately it was her own choice. This was very difficult for me; I was wearing two hats - one as a family member who was concerned about our collective health, and one as a genetic counselor who believed that testing was warranted. My sister has two adopted daughters and was satisfied with her decision up to this point. Ultimately, she decided to a GC appointment; my father and I also joined her. There were tense moments and my sister stated that she had no interest in testing or even being there. The GC was very good and ultimately she decided to get tested. I experienced first hand how difficult family dynamics can be, especially when they are your own. I also felt satisfied that I was able to successfully work through this process with my sister and my father so that they could understand the importance of genetics to an entire family. Overall, it has brought us closer. Another difficult situation - my boys were flagged for potential Long QT syndrome at a free community heart screening. They are very active and athletic, playing basketball, soccer, skiing etc. Going through the process with them and having to explain the possibility of SCD was excruciating. Eventually they had genetic testing which was negative for the known Long QT mutations, but this is a syndrome where a negative test is never completely negative. My husband and I got CPR trained and know how to use a defibrillator; I worked with our school and town to understand whether coaches, who are most often volunteers on these sports teams were certified. I ultimately found out that they most often are not, nor do many of the schools or churches have defibrillators. I still worry every day because of unusual findings on cardiac stress tests.
6.
My sister's 2nd cancer diagnosis and her desire not to go through genetic counseling. My son's potential Long QT syndrome diagnosis. My mom's lymphoma diagnosis.
7.
Telling one of my co-workers that she needed to communicate more clearly when planning an event.
8.
Dealing with expectant parents that learned their fetus had a significant birth disorder.
9.
The most difficult situation I've dealt with in the past was growing up with an unstable, alcoholic father. I chose to put my energy into constructive activities and saw my accomplishments come to fruition.
Question 5 of 25
What was the most significant birth defect you have noticed before?
User-Submitted Answers
1.
In my rotation at St. Peters, I was able to shadow a few cases where babies were born with severe cleft palates.
2.
A birth defect I've noticed that did not have a significant impact on the person's overall health or cognitive abilities was phocomelia.
3.
Downs syndrome. It has become extremely common in the last decade due to several possible reasons such as the later age of many mothers or more mutation of fetal DNA due to exposure to radiation from technology.
4.
Down syndrome, or individuals that are wheel chair bound due to disproportionate limbs.
Question 6 of 25
What appeals to you about the role of genetic counselor? Why did you choose this career?
User-Submitted Answers
1.
I like science and I like to educate the public about scientific concepts and information so that they have a better understanding and appreciate of science.
2.
Iíve always thought biology was fascinating. The way that the body is programmed to work just right is just amazing! I also love talking to people and helping others. Naturally, I am a listener, which is an important skill in counseling. Iíve also been working with special needs kids since 8th grade which has motivated me to become involved in helping their community. I also had a second cousin with FD and understand some of the challenges.
3.
I choose a career as a genetic counselor because I absolutely love Genetics and helping people. I am a good listener and I have allot of practice reading graphs and statistics.
4.
I developed a strong interest in genetics during my undergraduate degree in Science and graduated with a double major in genetics and molecular biology. During the course of my undergraduate degree, I thoroughly explored career options related to genetics. A course supervisor suggested genetic counselling to me, and after researching on the career, and talking to professionals in the industry, I decided that being a GC was an ideal profession for me as it allowed me to combine my passion for genetics with health education, and interacting with people from a variety of backgrounds.
5.
Since I've had to grow up being physically impaired, I always longed for an explanation of what made me different. What caused me to have certain physical features that no one else had? I discovered genetics when I was researching what caused histiocytosis. Learning about the association between genetics and human disease was a life changing experience for me. I felt like I got so much more information, knowing how I was affected and what my diagnosis meant for me in the future. I began searching for jobs where I could learn more about genetics, while also helping other people obtain that same knowledge, and providing support for patients with similar experiences.
6.
I loved the idea of combining the science of genetics with direct patient care. I have been intrigued cancer genetics, in particular, since working with biotechnology companies in my prior career and seeing the sequencing of the human genome in the early 90s. I have a background in psychology so have always been interested in people's emotions and behavior, and also am drawn to the medical field in particular. So the GC field was the perfect combination of these factors: direct patient interaction in a medical setting related to genetics.
7.
I want to be able to help people by directly interacting with them. Being part of a field that is constantly evolving and growing makes me excited for the future.
8.
My desire to help people and my interest in science.
9.
Science has always been my strong suit. In particiluy, I have always been a biology junkie. With genetics being my favorite topic, and with my love of people and strong people skills, I know genetic counseling is the perfect fit for me.
Question 7 of 25
Genetic testing is a critical decision for any individual. How will you ease their mind and walk them through the process?
User-Submitted Answers
1.
Well, first of all it is very important to educate the patient. Why are they visting the genetics department and how is the information from the genetic test useful to them. It is important to ask the patient their opinions about the test, and how they think they will manage the information to better understand their feelings and reassure them with information on support groups to let them know that they are not alone.
2.
In order to ease the patients mind the counselor must explain the process of genetic testing in a clear and concise manner. The purpose behind the testing, how the test is performed and what scientists are looking for, and finally the possible outcomes of the test. Such as if the test is positive what action can be taken and what support is offered by the genetic counselor and if the test is negative what action can be taken.
3.
I would ease there mind by asking what they have to lose and gain. In my experience the gain is always well worth it. Once there mind is at ease I can walk them through the process easier.
4.
I'll make sure to provide them with a thorough explanation of the negatives and positives of genetic testing for them. I'll explain what the results could mean for both them and their family & how that information could be useful. I'd make sure to answer all their questions, so that they could make the most level-headed and informed decision possible.
5.
Just as I did with my sister. Slowly, respectfully, and letting them know that I will be with them each step in the process, including answering all of their questions, helping them deal with the consequences of those results, including directing them to resources that might be helpful (support groups, e. G. FORCE; specialists etc.); helping them communicate with family members etc.
6.
Talk about possible side effects, how they could prepare, how the process works.
7.
Communicate openly and honestly. Explaining the process as best as possible in a manner they can understand and staying in touch with them throughout this process.
8.
Be compassionate, kind, and understanding of their worries. Be sure to alliviate any concerns I can and make them as comfortable as possible in the situation. Also be sure to explain things and take care to make sure they understand.
Question 8 of 25
Give me an example of how you have communicated effectively in the past.
User-Submitted Answers
1.
As a full-time volunteer I have days where I am in charge of the kitchen. My tasks as the kitchen manager include delegating tasks to my other full-time volunteers as well as the part-time volunteers that come in to help serve dinner. I am in charge of instructing the part-time volunteers of how dinner works and informing them on other services that our organization provides.
2.
As a teaching intern for organic chemistry, we have weekly office hours in which we relay concepts to students that were taught in class. Since all science majors at Rutgers have to take organic chemistry, I've dealt with students from a wide range of backgrounds in chemistry. It's important to find out which students benefit from each teaching style. By asking them what they hope to get out of the office hour session, I have had the benefit of watching them improve.
3.
Explaining my CF results to my parents; I was effective because they ultimately did not feel guilty about my diagnosis even though they understood that it was genetically transmitted to me.
4.
When dealing with autistic children and their families during my volunteer work at LaCara I had to assist parents with the new found knowledge that their second child was also on the spectrum.
5.
During my job as a manager as a frozen custard place, a co-orker approached me and said that we "have issues." I chose to listen to her complaints, giving respect to her feelings and practicing reflective listening skills in order to make sure I was understandin her needs clearly. I then suggested a solution based on the summary of her grievances with myself, and continually practiced that solution in order to increase better communications between tbe two of us, which had been the root of her issue with me.
Question 9 of 25
What do you think will be the most exciting part of being a genetic counselor?
User-Submitted Answers
1.
The things that excite me most about being a Genetics counselor are doing the things I love. I love working with statistics as it fascinates me how they work together and the probability of it all. I am also very excited to help people through a difficult time in their lives.
2.
In equal measure, I am excited about forming trusting relationships with patients and their families and providing a supportive and informative service as well as learning about the complexities of human genetics and the implications that different types of diseases have on different types of people and also the ethical dilemmas surrounding the diagnostic testing and preventive measures available.
3.
I'm excited to see the field of genetic counseling blossom and grow as we learn more about genetics and human disease. Genetic counseling is one of the fastest growing areas in medicine in the country. Genetic counseling has come so far in only the past 10 years. As scientists learn more, there will always be an increasing need for more genetic counselors.
4.
I am very interested in working directly with patients and helping them work through very difficult circumstances. I find it satisfying to emotionally support people while helping them understand the complexities of genetic information in a way that will guide them to decisions that are best for them and their families.
5.
Helping people, continued learning and having a job that is never exactly the same every day.
6.
The idea of interacting with patients daily, while also being constantly involved with the latest research developments within my favorite subject field.
Question 10 of 25
Tell me about your education. How has it helped you with genetics?
User-Submitted Answers
1.
I'm completed b. Com graguat in india.
2.
Following my biology A-level I have developed my knowledge from basic mendelian genetic inheritance to the investigation of medical genetics through DNA sequencing and various genetic investigations during my masters program. My masters research project involved the theoretical and practical understanding of a recessive form of propionic acidemia presenting as dilated cardiomyopathy. Therefore my genetic knowledge is fairly advanced.
3.
My education consists of a High-school experience. I have taken multiple bio courses. I plan to study genetics in College.
4.
As a genetics major, I've taken numerous courses about genetics. So in addition to the core science curriculum of biology, chemistry, and physics.. I've also taken a year long genetic course, numerous genetics electives further exploring both the scientific and psychosocial aspects of the emerging field. Finally, conducting independent research in genetics over the past year has taught me how to physically apply the science I've been learning for years, and to think about how genetics is really the key to understanding all of human disease. In theory, all diseases are genetic (caused by a mutation in a gene). Whether they're inherited or not is another topic. :)
5.
Arcadia was a strong program for several reasons. Our director, associate director, and clinical coordinator have strong and varied experience as genetic counselors prior to becoming educators. The greater Philadelphia/Delaware area is ripe with top notch hospitals, so the clinical rotations allowed me to work with many different disorders and clinical experts.
6.
Both through my coursework and summers working in a genetic laboratory and how its application can impact people's lives.
7.
My education has taught me genetics directly and indirectly. I have taken a course titles Elements of Genetics. I have also taken courses that indirectly mentioned a slew a genetic topics, like Evolution, Biochem, Molecular Mechanisms of Cancer, and others.
Question 11 of 25
Have you completed or thought about completing your certification from the American Board of Genetic Counselors?
User-Submitted Answers
1.
I have thought about completing my certification many times. I am currently working on my qualifications and when I am qualified I plan to get my certification.
2.
I have not completed it. However, I know I have to complete it to become a genetic counselor.
3.
After my master's program I intend to complete my certification from the ABGC.
4.
That is what I intend to do upon completion of my genetic counseling program.
Question 12 of 25
Talk to me about your undergraduate work. Did you take any specific classes that are helpful for your career as a genetic counselor?
User-Submitted Answers
1.
I am a Junior in High-school and have not done any as of yet. I plan to in college.
2.
As a genetics major, I've taken numerous courses in both genetics and molecular biology that will help me understand the biochemical nature of genetics and human diseases. Additionally, as a psychology minor, I've learned a lot about how the mind works. Furthermore, through my experiences working in a lab, I've had a lot of hands on experience with science and have often had to communicate about science with my peers/ mentors. I think the combination of my science experience and background and mentoring and counseling has prepared me to discuss both the scientific and psychosocial implications of genetic testing and screening with patients.
3.
I was a psychology major which prepared me to understand human behavior. Genetic Counseling is ultimately about effective communication, but it must be combined with empathy and understanding in difficult and complex circumstances. I am naturally compassionate and empathetic.
4.
Genetics, biochem, psych.
5.
I completed scientific coursework required for the Master's Genetic Counseling Program as well as HDFS coursework and interned at a rape crisis center and volunteered at an autism awareness organization.
6.
In order to better suit me as a genetic counselor, I chose to take a variety of science and communications coursework. I took a genetics course, bio chem course, stats/probabilty course, psychology course, tons of cell/molecul mechanisms course work, biological sciences writing course, and lots of hours spent in the reserarch lab. Also advocacy for others and their health via my student organization.
Question 13 of 25
Tell me about your experience shadowing a GC.
User-Submitted Answers
1.
I learned so much in my semester long rotation at St peter's. For one, I was able to observe 2 genetic counselors and look at their different styles. One of the counselors was definitely more oriented towards the psychosocial aspect, and often engaged the patients in discussions on how testing may affect their family dynamics. The other counselor was more science oriented, making sure the patients understood the biology of their disease and what that meant for their family. I also got to see a huge variety of cancer, metabolic, prenatal, and adult genetics cases. I got to see that a genetic diagnosis can have numerous implications for an individual beyond the realm of biology. I really became aware of the vital role the genetic counselor serves in the clinic. It made me love the profession so much more.
2.
I shadowed for what some people would describe as a brilliant, but interpersonally difficult very senior person. I enjoyed it because while I had no experience as a GC, I realized that my life experience and prior career kept me from being intimidated or rattled, and allowed me to focus on learning as much as I could from this incredible person.
3.
While shadowing a genetic counselor at Ochsner, I learned a great deal about this profession. That experience reinforced my desire to pursue this profession as every day presented new challenges and opportunities to help others in need of answers.
Question 14 of 25
What tools do you use to efficiently manage your time?
Question 15 of 25
Are you actively interviewing with other facilities or hospitals?
Question 16 of 25
What types of genetic testing are you most familiar with?
User-Submitted Answers
1.
Pre-natal, breast cancer, metabolic diseases and familial heart diseases.
Question 17 of 25
What is your biggest weakness?
Question 18 of 25
Have you done any volunteering work? How do you think this benefits your career?
User-Submitted Answers
1.
Community service is very important to me. I have volunteered with many different organizations and I feel th.
2.
I have done a lot of volunteer work. I believe what I have done will help me going into this career because of the experience I have working with people.
3.
I volunteered at a hospital a couple summers ago on a cardiac care floor as an in patient rounder. That basically consisted of answering call lights and fulfilling patient requests. I've also volunteered on the suicide hotline for over a year now. I think that it will benefit me because I've been able to reap the benefits of helping people even without any financial benefit for myself. I know that genetic counselors often work very long hours, and often prepare for cases when they're not on the clock. It's really a profession where you have to have your patients best interest in mind at all times and be willing to work for your patients. There's a special joy that comes from volunteering, and that you know you really have your patients best interest in mind.
4.
Habitat for Humanity - helping people achieve the best outcomes for their personal situation. A Better Chance Host family to a boy from the Bronx for 4 years. Understanding that people have very different experiences and cultural backgrounds from myself, and learning to listen and being able to put myself in someone else's shoes.
5.
Volunteering with the Lacara autism group has helped me tremendously. I have learned firsthand how people with disabilities interact with others and how their limitations affect their family and relationships.
Question 19 of 25
During patient visits, you will be dealing with patients as they go through difficult times. How can you ensure me you are capable of this?
User-Submitted Answers
1.
The only way I can ensure you of this would be with examples. I have had to council friends and family through many tough times before, ranging from death to divorce.
2.
I have in depth understanding of genetic disorder and managemenr.
3.
I worked closely with a doctor in a fertility clinic, and many of our consultations were very emotional. Infertility is an extremely sensitive subject and I have learned a lot about counseling people from my boss.
4.
The fact that I know what it's like to feel different, I will be able to identify with my patients concerns. Also, the experience I've gained from working on a suicide and crisis hotline has prepared me to talk to people going through a wide range of difficult times. I've helped callers talk through their experiences with depression, bullying, eating disorders, rape, and thoughts of suicide. I've learned the ability to quickly establish rapport and diffuse the sense of immediate crisis. By allowing them to adopt a more level headed way of thinking, they are usually able to think better about their options.
5.
I am mature and have a lot of life experience. I think this makes me uniquely qualified for this position. I have dealt with cancer, CF and other genetic diagnoses with my own family. I have been the person with the diagnoses, have been a parent of a child with potential diagnoses, have been a child with a parent with a diagnoses and have been a sister to a sibling with a diagnoses. I do not think that anything could prepare me better than this to help patients going through difficult times.
6.
My experience working as an intern at a rape crisis center was invaluable. Dealing with rape victims and their loved ones was a great learning experience for me and will prove useful when counseling patients through difficult times in a professional, compassionate manner.
Question 20 of 25
Describe your work style.
User-Submitted Answers
1.
Extremely well, I feel my sensitivity and empathy help me connect with a multitude of people from different cultural and religious backgrounds.
2.
It is my belief that I talk to people in a composed, friendly manner very well.
3.
Open body language. Listening skills. Neutral but friendly tone. I do it well.
4.
Well, you'd have to ask my friends about that! No, I'm joking. I think I can definitely talk to people in a composed and friendly manner. People just want to know that you genuinely care how their experiences are affecting them. That you don't have any other reason for listening to them besides that you care. Being friendly and understanding, and speaking with a calm & soothing voice, is how I've been able to help most of my callers choose life.
5.
My friends and family have told me what a good GC I will make. I am naturally personable so feel I am able to put people at ease; I am someone who likes to be prepared, which helps me to be flexible and remain composed in stressful situations, and I have a lot of experience from my prior career in dealing with difficult situations.
6.
I believe I am competent and capable when speaking with others. I do my best to put people at ease and like to initiate a conversation with a generic question about them in order for them to speak about themselves so that I can learn more about them.
Question 21 of 25
Talk about the challenges you have had working with physicians.
User-Submitted Answers
1.
I have definitely worked with a genetics team to provide a diagnosis for a patient. In one case I saw, there was a baby in the NICU that presented with a lot of bone fractures. We first tested him for a recessive condition called vitamin D dependent rickets and he was positive. However, he didn't respond to treatment like a dependent baby. Then, I personally worked with the counselor to use a genomic/micro array snP evaluation tool to examine the patients ROH and provide a better diagnosis.
2.
Yes, at AI DuPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington. The physicians are the diagnosticians in this genetic counseling envirnment.
3.
No I have not yet had the opportunity.
Question 22 of 25
Tell me about your personality. What qualities do you have that are suitable for this career?
User-Submitted Answers
1.
I like science and enjoy explaining scientific concepts to people so that they have a better understanding of them.
2.
Really learning the relationship between genetics and human disease is what sparked my love for genetics. Taking courses in genetics and conducting research has only increased my passion. Additionally, my love for teaching and desire to teach about the subject I love introduced my to genetic counseling. I've fallen in love with the counseling experience and I like the idea of being there to answer both scientific and non-scientific questions from my patients about the nature of their diagnosis. Genetic counseling will allow me to combine my love for science with working with patients in a clinical, patient oriented setting.
3.
My husband worked at the Yale Child Center when my children were very young and the Center hired a Genetic Counselor. This was a career I never heard of but I had been considering changing careers and was thrilled to learn that I could combine my interest in science, genetics and direct patient care into a meaningful role.
4.
Actually my mother did. Her work as a forensic DNA expert and her knowledge of molecular biology and inherited diseases planted an interest for me in a counseling profession that deals with genetics and important issues and decisions people have to make regarding their genetic information.
Question 23 of 25
If I found out my genome doubles my risk of breast cancer, should I have a preventive mastectomy?
User-Submitted Answers
1.
From what I understand, that would be the course of action recommended by your oncologist - a radical suggestion, to be sure. This is why you need to be prepared for such a suggestion when you decide to have the genetic test done.
2.
I'd say that decision really depends on the person. It's definitely not a recommended procedure, however some people choose that option because of how they have seen breast cancer presented in their family. I'd say that there are fairly reliable ways of monitoring breast cancer, through alternating MRI with mammogram every 6 months. But then, we also know if you have a mastectomy you may decrease your risks by up to 95%. Some people would rather choose that option and minimize their worries. I'd suggest you ask your ob/gyn and really think about whether that's the right choice for you.
3.
This is a very personal decision and one which a patient must make in the context of their own situation and family. Being able to provide potential management options to the patient and encouraging further discussion with their oncology team would be the approach I would take.
4.
More information would be needed before making such an important decision, such as age, family history, etc.
Question 24 of 25
How will you handle a customer that is uneasy about receiving their genetic diagnosis?
User-Submitted Answers
1.
I would be clear and straightforward about the possible outcomes of the test and the benefits to knowing as well as not knowing.
2.
I would just talk to them. I find it is best depending on the situation to either talk to them about it and try calming them down or just to distract them and talk about other stuff.
3.
I'd tell them that I know receiving a diagnosis can be a very scary thing. It's scary to think about how a yes or no answer could have such rippling effect and effect so many aspects of their life. But I'd assure them that receiving the answer is usually better than not knowing. In most cases, even if the answer is yes, it will allow the patient to make better decisions about the healthcare of both themselves and their family in the future. I'd engage them in an active discussion of the pros & cons of testing.
4.
Similarly to my sister - being tremendously understanding of their unease, and letting them know that I will be there to support them and guide them through the process.
5.
First I would want to know them a bit before handing them a diagnosis and assure them of support systems in place that I could assist them in accessing.
Question 25 of 25
What are your hobbies?

About Genetic Counseling

August 31st, 2017

Genetic counselors specialize in determining risk factors for hereditary diseases in patients. These highly trained medical experts work in hospitals, private clinics, research laboratories, and universities. Their tasks include analyzing genetic data and patient histories, performing genetic risk calculations, educating patients and their families about potential risk factors and advising patients as to how to cope with the diagnosis.
A master's degree in genetic counseling is essential for anyone wishing to practice in this field. In addition, many states have made licensure mandatory, for which certification as a genetic counselor is usually required. The graduate program is rigorous and includes coursework in genetic screening, molecular genetics, birth defects, prenatal diagnosis, population studies, counseling ethics and research methods. A keen eye for detail and strong analytical, problem-solving, research, communication, and interpersonal skills are essential attributes in this role.
Expect to undergo an exhaustive interview. Prospective employers will go to great lengths to make 100% that you are the right fit for the job, both in terms of job knowledge as well as the manner in which you communicate with patients. They will ask you why you chose to become a genetic counselor and what do you think are your strengths as they relate to this job. They will also ask you about your perceived weaknesses and if you are doing anything to overcome those weaknesses. You can prepare compelling answers to any question the interviewer asks you by taking a look at commonly asked interview question listed at Mock Questions.


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