The use of role-play to enhance medical student understanding of genetic counseling

Academic Article


  • Purpose: Advances in genetics have meant that genetic testing will become increasingly relevant to all health care fields. It is therefore important that all physicians have increased genetic education in their training, including in the medical school curriculum. Methods: To address this need, we used role-playing in an effort to enhance understanding of genetic counseling. Students were given the option of participating in a mock genetic counseling session whereby they would play the role of a patient receiving genetic test results. All students received questionnaires on their attitudes and knowledge about genetic counseling. Those who participated answered additional questions regarding effectiveness of the project. Results: Of 88 students who returned presimulation questionnaires, 19 opted to participate in the mock session, and 15 participants returned postsimulation questionnaires. There was no significant difference between participant and nonparticipant questionnaire responses. However, all participants agreed that role-play was effective in helping them understand genetic counseling and testing. Most participants also commented that the session helped them understand the importance of referral for genetic counseling and the impact of test results. Conclusions: The project proved overall valuable in improving medical student understanding of genetic counseling and may be applied to a variety of medical education settings to improve patient care.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • McIlvried DE; Prucka SK; Herbst M; Barger C; Robin NH
  • Start Page

  • 739
  • End Page

  • 744
  • Volume

  • 10
  • Issue

  • 10