Today is Genetic Counsellor Awareness Day – a time to recognise all Genetic Counsellors, particularly those within the Australian Genomics research network, and the valuable role they play in health care.
Kirsten Boggs from the Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network shares what it means to be a Genetic Counsellor.
“When I tell people I’m a Genetic Counsellor their reaction is often a mix of curiosity and surprise. Most people have never heard of it! To me, it is the perfect mix of cutting-edge science, education and helping people. Genetic Counselling allows me to really connect with people, something I have always found to be essential in my day-to-day life.
I am often talking to families and patients during one of the most significant moments of their life – whether that is giving results to couples before a pregnancy about their chances of having a child with a genetic condition, or counselling families with critically unwell children in the ICU.
I’m passionate about helping people make decisions around genomic testing, allowing them to understand the science behind it and the possible implications of testing, which is often not something people think about prior to having a genomic test. I talk to them about their values and beliefs and help incorporate all of that into facilitating decision making around testing.
I think of myself as an advocate for families. It is important that their voice is heard and their perspective is taken into account before embarking on genomic testing.”