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Practicum Overview

Practicum experiences are an integral part of genetic counseling training.

During the 21-month MGC program, students complete coursework and rotations to achieve their clinical training and in accordance with ACGC Standards and Guidelines. Students will gain skills, knowledge, complete clinical cases required for application to sit for the ABGC genetic counseling board exam, and complete the expectations of the MGC practica preparing for success as a genetic counselor.

In the fall semester of the first year, students enroll in Genetic Counseling Pre-Practicum (GC7510) and Introduction to Genetic Counseling (GC7500) as a precursor to rotations. Students practice competencies relating to knowledge, skills, and attitudes with courses offering workshop-centered, practice-oriented, and a safe place to explore new skills. The RIME (Reporter, Interpreter, Manager, Educator) framework is introduced as a competency-based assessment tool, to set expectations for student performance throughout their clinical training. As part of GC7510 students attend a weekly case conference with colleagues in which genetic counseling cases are presented and discussed.

In January and February of the first year, each student will complete five one-week rotation serving as an on-site introduction to clinics in the following areas: Prenatal, Pediatrics, Cancer, Specialty, and Laboratory.

Beginning in March of the first year, students start the ten five-week rotations. Students will rotate through the core rotations of Prenatal, Pediatrics, Cancer and Specialty twice during the 10 weeks. In addition to the core rotations, students will complete one laboratory and one elective rotation over their clinical practica experience.

Students complete all of their rotations at Vanderbilt University Medical Center sites. Students may consider an off-campus rotation as an elective. As required by program accreditation guidelines, all external rotation sites are fully vetted and approved by program leadership prior to any student beginning a rotation at that location.

The descriptions of the core rotations (right) detail how students are exposed to natural history, management, and psychosocial issues of a across broad range of genetic conditions in a variety of practice settings.