Medicine, Nursing and Allied Health Professions

Counselling Skills for Genomics

Module titleCounselling Skills for Genomics
Module codeHPDM045B
Academic year2020/1
Module staff

Dr Anna Murray (Lecturer)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

This is an introduction to counselling skills for genomics. You will be taught how to communicate and provide support to individuals and their families, at an appropriate level. You will develop basic counselling skills via theoretical and practical sessions. You will understand the importance of constructing a family history and communication of pathogenic and/or uncertain results.

Module aims - intentions of the module


The aim of this module is to equip you with the knowledge, skills and attitudes to contribute appropriately to the diagnosis and management of patients whose care will be influenced by genomic investigations.


Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Develop skills to explain the importance of, and obtain informed consent from participants, in the field of genomic medicine generally and as applied to the ‘100,000 Genomes Project’.
  • 2. Ascertain level of understanding and care wishes in patients with rare inherited diseases, cancer and infectious diseases.
  • 3. Explain genomic results to patients and other health professionals in terms of diagnosis prediction and uncertainty.
  • 4. Explain to patients the concepts of genetic and genomic predispositions to illnesses.
  • 5. Discuss the consequences of genomic test results for the patient and the wider family, including incidental findings, drawing on the published evidence base and personal experiences of patients, carers and the wider family.
  • 6. Use a range of communication skills to discuss and critically evaluate current and potential ethical, legal and social issues (ELSI) of genome testing and whole genome sequencing with a patient.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 7. Evaluate and develop counselling skills to engage and communicate effectively and compassionately with patients, their carers and the wider family.

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 8. Critically reflect on personal practice and make connections between known and unknown areas, to allow for personal development, adaptation and change.
  • 9. Respond to innovation and new technologies and be able to evaluate these in the context of best practice and the need for improved service delivery.
  • 10. Communicate accurately and effectively with peers, tutors and the public.

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

  • Core techniques for effective counselling and communication.

  • Psychosocial impact of genomic testing and results for patients.

  • Obtaining consent and what it means in relation to genetic and genomic sampling, testing and data storage.

  • Conveying information that may be interpreted by patients as good or bad news.

Learning and teaching

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled learning and teaching activities9Lectures
Scheduled learning and teaching activities9Workshops
Guided independent study5Preparation for scheduled learning and teaching activities
Guided independent study82Online resources and independent guided literature research
Guided independent study15Tutor guided online discussion forum
Guided independent study20Preparation for the OSGE (Objective Structured Genomic Examination)
Guided independent study10Writing essay


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Participation in online discussion forumWeekly 1-10Written
Practical clinical skills assessment2 hours 1-7Verbal and written

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
OSGE (Objective Structured Genomic Examination)702 hours 1-10Written
Essay301000 words1-7Verbal and written


Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
OSGE (Objective Structured Genomic Examination)OSGE (Objective Structured Genomic Examination)1-10Augst referral/deferral period
EssayEssay 1-7August referral/deferral period

Re-assessment notes

DEFERRAL: Students who are granted a deferral by the Board of Examiners, as recommended by the

UEMS Mitigation Committee, will be permitted to sit any missed piece of assessment or its equivalent  

(see ref/def table, above) in the referral/deferral period as an uncapped first attempt.


REFERRAL: Students who fail the module overall, either by failing a piece of assessment that is a pass

requirement or by achieving an overall module mark of less than 50%, will be permitted a second

attempt at the assessment or its equivalent (see ref/def table, above) in the referral/deferral period as a

capped (50%) second and final attempt.


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Basic reading:

  • Mearns, D., Thorne, B. and McLeod, J. (2013). Person-centred counselling in action. London: SAGE.


For further interest:  

  • Stewart, I. and Joines, V. (2012). TA today:a new Introduction to Transactional Analysis. Melton Mowbray: Lifespace.

  • Worden, J. (2010). Grief counselling and grief therapy. London: Routledge.


Module has an active ELE page

Credit value15
Available as distance learning?