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J Genet Couns. 2019 Dec;28(6):1069-1086. doi: 10.1002/jgc4.1168. Epub 2019 Sep 19.

Supervision in genetic counselor training in North America: A systematic review.

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Neurology, Stanford Health Care, Palo Alto, California.
Division of Human Genetics, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio.
Department of Pediatrics, College of Medicine, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio.


Genetic counseling has been a profession for over 40 years, and training programs accredited by the Accreditation Council for Genetic Counseling are required to have students supervised in at least 50 patient-facing cases prior to graduation. However, there is no standardized information or training for supervisors of genetic counseling students. As a first step toward creating formal and standardized supervision training, we undertook a systematic review of the genetic counseling student supervision literature. A formal systematic review was conducted including establishing a research question with inclusion and exclusion criteria, establishing search terms, searching databases, reading/screening abstracts, examining full texts for inclusion, assessing for quality, and finally extracting data with a standardized form to provide the basis of the review. In all, 151 papers were screened, of which 19 and two erratum were found to meet inclusion criteria and pass quality measures. Main themes from these papers were as follows: Training Model, Competencies, Investigation of Techniques, Difficulties in Supervision, and Barriers. In total, 19 papers provided evidence for the way that supervision is currently being performed and suggestions for what needs further investigation to direct supervision training. Recommendations for genetic counseling student supervision include the following: provide a review of training models to supervisors; provide a copy of the supervision competencies to supervisors; use competencies with lowest self-efficacy to inform future supervision trainings; and find ways to support genetic counselors in becoming student supervisors.


genetic counseling supervision; student supervision; supervision; supervision development; training


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