From Genetic Counselling, Ethics, Nursing, Society

What is Genetic Counselling?

Jon was the lead content creator for this FutureLearn online course, in a collaboration with Wellcome Genome Campus Advanced Courses team

What is Genetic Counselling?

10th June 2019

The course, first offered in June 2019, will continue to be offered periodically on FutureLearn’s platform.

Course description from FutureLearn’s website:

Understand the role of genetic counselling in the genomic era

Who are genetic counsellors? Who has genetic counselling and what does a genetic counsellor do? On this course, you will find the answers to these questions whilst learning about the role of genetic counselling in healthcare and the genomic era.

You will discover why people seek genetic counselling and how it compares in different contexts and countries. You will explore the main skills and knowledge genetic counsellors need, as well as their key responsibilities to patients. You will discuss the ethical issues of genetic counselling, and its opportunities and challenges for the future.

What topics will you cover?

  • Why people would see a genetic counsellor
  • Some of a genetic counsellor’s key tasks
  • A genetic counsellor’s key skills and knowledge: counselling skills, medical and scientific knowledge
  • Ethical issues in genetic counselling
  • What the future might hold for genetic counsellors

Feedback from Learners of the February 2020 cohort:

“Thank you very much for such an informative, enjoyable and though-provoking course. I have learnt a lot during these six weeks and I definitely know more now than I did prior to starting! I am glad to say that this has increased my interest in Genetic counselling as a profession and am very likely going to pursue it as a career.”

“What a great course. Perfect introduction to genetic counseling. This has given me a very real insight into the work that is carried out prior to my role in a genetic testing laboratory. Also overwhelming to think of the hours that go into the counselling sessions, ensuring patients are prepared, informed and able to make their own decisions.”

“I really love the videos! They are very illustrative and educational!”

“I think the biggest challenging is dealing with other people feelings, their fear and apprehensiveness. This course is really making me reflect about this. Very interesting to read other people’s comments too, great way to learn and share!”

Related Link:


Roberts J and Middleton A (2019) Designed and wrote What is Genetic Counselling for FutureLearn, collaborating with Wellcome Genome Campus Advanced Courses and Scientific Conferences. Online, June