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Soc Sci Med. 1984;18(7):541-9.

Genetic counseling: the development of a new interdisciplinary occupational field.


A power approach to the study of occupations is used to understand the development of a new occupation--the Masters level genetic counselor. The internal dimension of the power perspective is utilized in analyzing this new health care provider's efforts to gain a place alongside practitioners who possess medical or doctoral degrees. The external dimension is used to focus on the relationship between occupational control and other institutional bases of power in the society. The status of genetic counselor is compared to that of the nurse-practitioner and nurse-midwife. Claims of expertise regarding control over indetermination and uncertainty are discussed as well as society's willingness to accept these assertions.

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