Celebrating Genetic Counsellors!
Thank you Frédéric, and all your colleagues, for all the great work you do. Join us in celebrating Genetic Counsellor Awareness Day on November 9!
Q 1. What led you to becoming a genetic counsellor?
Within the vast forest that is a hospital centre like the MUHC, a genetic counsellor is a rare animal, but, like all animals and plants in a forest, they are essential to the health of the ecosystem. The field of medical genetics is expanding. Genetics is playing an increasingly important role in the healthcare sector as new technologies and knowledge become available. However, these new tools and information can quickly give the uninitiated a headache. That's where genetic counsellors come in.
Our role is to meet with patients to explore their genetic risk and/or that of their family. The counselor takes on the role of educator and guide, enabling patients to make an informed decision about the tests offered—tests meticulously chosen by the counselor to provide the greatest chance of uncovering an explanation for the patient's medical and family history. This unique dynamic, juggling the theoretical and psychosocial nature of medical genetics, is truly what drew me to the profession: to become both a genetic detective and a source of support for patients.
Q 2. What is the best advice that someone at the MUHC ever gave you?
"Be honest." Honesty is an essential quality for all employees, of course, but it has particular value in medical genetics. It's a powerful tool that enables us to remain humble in front of our patients, open to new discoveries, and attentive to ourselves and our limits. A philosophy encapsulated in a word.
Q 3. Tell us about working with your fellow colleagues.
In general, the field of genetic counseling attracts people who are brilliant, humble and remarkably empathetic. I find myself surrounded by colleagues who are not only boundless fountains of knowledge, but also genuinely good people. I find myself chatting with them all too often, simply to get their opinions on various subjects or difficulties, only to come away constantly enriched. I feel extremely privileged to be part of this team and to call some of its members my friends.
Q 4. How do you like to relax and unwind after a shift?
I do things that help me get away from work. I go for a run to clear my mind, I write to exercise my creative side, or I play video games to relax. On the other hand, my favorite end-of-work activity is being a games master for Dungeons & Dragons.