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U.S.-Trained Genetic Counselors’ Perspectives on International Rotations: A Thematic Analysis

Kostour, Victoria I (2024) U.S.-Trained Genetic Counselors’ Perspectives on International Rotations: A Thematic Analysis. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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A key element of genetic counseling training includes clinical practice through fieldwork placements. Within some training programs, students can pursue fieldwork placements internationally. Although these types of experiences have been shown to promote professional development in other fields, there is limited literature providing information on genetic counseling international rotations. As the genetic counseling field continues to grow and provide services to more diverse patient populations, there is an increasing need to evaluate the globalization of genetic services. Therefore, the purpose of this research study was to explore the impacts and perceived value of completing an international genetic counseling rotation. We conducted a total of nine semi-structured interviews via Zoom with U.S.-trained practicing genetic counselors who participated in an international fieldwork experience in the last ten years (2013-2023) during their training. Through semantic, inductive thematic analysis, five themes were developed: (1) navigating new environments facilitated learning, (2) students’ personal goals and motivations shaped their experiences, (3) feelings of isolation: protective and risk factors, (4) relationships with international site supervisors and providers, and (5) role of genetic counseling training programs in arranging and promoting international rotations. Overall, international rotations prove to be beneficial experiences for genetic counseling professionals. These experiences provide unique opportunities for professional and personal growth. However, genetic counseling international rotations vary in difficulty and impact based on a multitude of factors. Genetic counseling training programs and professional organizations should consider ways to promote and improve these experiences. This study benefits public health by exploring how international rotations contribute to building a skilled workforce that promotes genetic counseling services globally.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Kostour, Victoria Ivik95@pitt.eduvik950000-0002-3489-5143
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairGrubs, Robin Ergrubs@pitt.edurgrubs
Committee MemberSalter, Cynthia LCYS6@pitt.eduCYS6
Committee MemberMunro,
Date: 16 May 2024
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 9 April 2024
Approval Date: 16 May 2024
Submission Date: 22 April 2024
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 75
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, international rotations, international fieldwork, international genetic counseling
Date Deposited: 16 May 2024 19:54
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 19:54


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