Genetic Counseling Program

Untitled Document

Perceptions of Self-Efficacy in Select Supervision Competencies Among Clinical Supervisors in Genetic Counseling  By Sabra Ledare Finley

Capstone Project Committee: Nancy Callanan, MS, CGC (UNCG), Chair; Patricia McCarthy Veach, PhD (University of Minnesota); Bonnie LeRoy, MS, CGC (University of Minnesota) and Sat Gupta, PhD (UNCG), Statistical Consultant

Background: Supervision is the primary instructional vehicle for genetic counseling student clinical training. Seventy-one percent of genetic counselors report supervisory roles (NSGC PSS, 2012).  The first comprehensive list of empirically-derived competencies for genetic counselor supervisors published recently (Higgins et al., 2013). Studies have yet to evaluate whether supervisors possess these competencies, how they learn supervision skills, and whether experience is related to competencies. Purpose: This study investigated three major research questions: (1) How do genetic counselor supervisors assess their capabilities (self-efficacy) for a select group of supervisor competencies? (2) Are their self-assessments related to years of supervision experience and years of genetic counseling experience? (3) What methods do they use to develop supervision skills and what are their training methods preferences? Methods: One-hundred thirty-one genetic counselor supervisors completed an anonymous online survey assessing demographics (including supervision experience, years of genetic counseling experience); self-efficacy (confidence) for 12 goal setting and 16 feedback competencies (Scale: 0-100%); competencies that are challenging, methods used to learn about supervision, and preferred training methods (open-ended). Regression analyses, ANOVA, and correlation analyses assessed relationships between self-efficacy ratings and supervision and work experience and relationships between preferred training methods and supervision and work experience. Results: Mean self-efficacy ratings were high across competencies (>83.7). Participant comments revealed several challenging goal setting and feedback competencies, however. Self-efficacy was significantly related to supervision experience (p < .05) but not work experience. Training methods rated as highly effective included consultation with colleagues (61%), peer supervision group (54%) and workshops/seminars provided by genetic counseling programs (50%). Training methods preferences differed between measures of supervision experience and work experience. Conclusion: Self-efficacy regarding competencies was significantly related to supervision experience but not genetic counseling experience, supporting assertions that supervision is a discrete activity involving a distinct skill set.  Despite generally high self-efficacy ratings, participants’ comments provide insight into competencies they found challenging, and indicate preferred training methods for further skill development. The findings will inform future supervision training and research.

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  • "I chose to attend UNCG because of its shared learning environment and the access to some of the leading institutions in the country. "



  • "UNCG is a great fit for me. The program directors have extensive experience in the world of genetic counseling and provide you with opportunities to work with some of the best medical centers in the country. Our location allows us to have expert guest lecturers, many of whom you also get to work alongside or observe in your clinical rotations in your second year. We also have some really wonderful and unique opportunities as a part of this program: we observe in syndrome specific support groups and clinics, tour genetic laboratories, and are matched with a family with a genetic disease to learn what it is like to live with a genetic condition. Finally, our directors are genuinely invested in each of us, and care about our success and getting to know each of us personally."




  • "The director and assistant director do their best to ensure that our program provides a collaborative learning experience.  Both are active members of the Genetic Counseling community and strive to introduce you to all aspects of this field.  We also have renowned clinical sites and the beautiful state of North Carolina at our disposal.”