Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

MS in Human Genetics

First Advisor

Lindsey Alico Ecker

Second Advisor

Cassandra Pisieczko


While simulation is commonly used as a tool in the training of various medical professionals, more in depth analysis is needed on its use and impact in the training of genetic counselors. The purpose of this study was to begin to understand, from the student perspective, the impact of the Sarah Lawrence College Master of Science in Human Genetics (SLC MS HG) Introductory Fieldwork Simulation (IF Sim) on self-efficacy, skills acquisition, and utilization of skills learned in simulation in future practice for the classes of 2021-2023. After a pilot study was completed, 23 semi-structured qualitative interviews were conducted from participants from the SLC classes of 2021-2023 who participated in IF Sim. Guided by the research questions and emergent research design, a code book was developed and used to code all transcripts. The codes were then grouped into categories based on similar ideas. Themes from within these categories emerged that fit together under three overarching concepts, including impact on participants’ self-efficacy, skills acquisition, and utilization of skills learned in simulation in future practice, with multiple supporting themes under each. Nearly all participants reported an increase in self-efficacy as a result of IF Sim. Additionally, participants reported they were able to develop a multitude of genetic counseling skills, which combined with the increased confidence, made them feel more prepared for their first clinical rotation. Future research includes using this study as a starting point in exploring how to optimize simulation in the training of genetic counselors, as well as replicating this study at other institutions to create generalizable results about simulation programs in other genetic counseling training programs. Additionally, it would be helpful to evaluate whether self-efficacy is a good means of evaluating the effectiveness of simulation in genetic counseling programs.