New opportunity for nurses and midwives to train in genetic counselling

Funding is being made available by Health Education England for nurses and midwives to take part in assessed training in human genomics and genomic counselling.

Genetic testing is increasingly being used to guide patient care in many areas of medicine, yet few healthcare professionals are trained to understand genetic test results and explain genetic information to patients and families.

It’s expected that demand for healthcare professionals who are genetically literate will only increase due to initiatives such as the 100,000 Genomes Project and the NHS England Personalised Medicine Agenda.

Senior registered nurses or midwives may even be able to transition to a career as a genetic counsellor by completing additional training in genetics and counselling. Genetic counsellors are healthcare professionals with advanced training in both genetics and counselling, whose role it is to help patients understand and make decisions in situations where their genes affect their health.

About the ‘Gateway to Genetic Counselling’ courses

The courses are being provided by the Cambridge Genomic Medicine Programme and are designed to prepare nurses and midwives for the increased role of genetics in healthcare. The training includes:

  • A full-time week of in-person teaching in Human Genetics and Genomics, followed by the completion of an assessed assignment, accredited through the Institute of Continuing Education at the University of Cambridge.
  • A full-time week of in-person training in Genomic Counselling, followed by the completion of an assessed assignment, accredited through the Institute of Continuing Education at the University of Cambridge.
  • Provision of resources and supervision to facilitate guided-learning

How to apply

Health Education England funding is available for NHS staff for the two in-person teaching weeks. For details of dates, accommodation, funding, and to register, please email Kath Dogan: Kath.Dogan@ice.cam.ac.uk

About the Cambridge Genomic Medicine Programme

The Cambridge Genomic Medicine Programme is a collaboration between Cambridge University Hospitals, the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute (WTSI), the European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI), and the Institute of Continuing Education at the Univeristy of Cambridge.

The programme offers suitable training opportunities in medical genetics and counselling which fulfill the educational components required for a senior nurse or midwife to be eligible to submit a ‘Notification of Intention to Register’ form to the Genetic Counsellor Registration Board.

Not a nurse or midwife but interested anyway?

Another route to train as a genetic counsellor if you are not already a nurse or midwife is to complete Master’s level training in Genetic/Genomic Counselling. This can be undertaken through the NHS Scientist Training Programme or through Master’s programmes provided by other UK universities including Cardiff and Glasgow.

More about genetic counselling

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