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Evaluation of communication skills in genetic counseling training programs: A needs assessment

Vanderwall, Rebecca (2016) Evaluation of communication skills in genetic counseling training programs: A needs assessment. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Communication skills are a necessary part of training and education for medical professionals and a key element of genetic counseling practice. These skills include both educating patients and addressing psychosocial needs. Although the types of communication that genetic counselors should master have been expressed in the literature, significantly less is known about effective ways to assess communication skills. This study was designed as a needs assessment to gain an understanding of how communication skills are currently being assessed in genetic counseling programs across the United States and Canada and to evaluate if a new communication assessment tool would be beneficial to these programs. Semi-structured phone interviews were conducted with directors of 14 of the 35 accredited programs and thematic analysis was performed on the notes generated from the interviews. It was discovered that all of the programs assess communication skills in some way, but no program uses the exact same methods. Most of the evaluation methods used in genetic counseling programs are not based on relevant literature or a known theoretical framework. Program directors are mostly interested in the creation of a new assessment tool, which may improve students’ communication skills and assist supervisors in identifying and addressing deficiencies. This study has public health significance because good communication contributes to better patient satisfaction, more teamwork within the medical team, better patient compliance, more cost-effective medicine, and better health in general. Assessing communication skills effectively would better ensure that genetic counselors are competent in the necessary skills when they complete their training.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Vanderwall, Rebeccarav39@pitt.eduRAV39
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Thesis AdvisorGrubs, Robinrgrubs@pitt.eduRGRUBS
Committee CoChairWhite,
Committee MemberTerry, Marthamaterry@pitt.eduMATERRY
Committee MemberKammerer, Candacecmk3@pitt.edCMK
Date: 9 September 2016
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 27 May 2016
Approval Date: 9 September 2016
Submission Date: 31 May 2016
Access Restriction: 3 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 3 years.
Number of Pages: 82
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Genetic Counseling
Degree: MS - Master of Science
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: genetic counseling; communication; communication skills; assessment
Date Deposited: 09 Sep 2016 17:16
Last Modified: 01 Jul 2019 05:15


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