Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Open Access


Genetic counseling is rapidly evolving as technology and services related to healthcare are developed and become a part of the healthcare industry. Because of its youth and rapid growth, there is currently no literature analyzing or describing leadership in genetic counseling as there is for nursing, surgical teams, or other more established fields of healthcare. Currently practicing genetic counselors were surveyed about their views of whether specific traits found to be valued in leaders in nursing were important in their bosses, institutional leaders, and genetic counseling professional society leaders. Likert scale responses were analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics; qualitative responses to open-ended questions were analyzed using open coding. Nearly all traits previously endorsed as useful for nursing leaders were found to be applicable to leaders of genetic counselors. In particular, effective communication was found to be the most important trait for leaders at every level, and honesty/transparency was consistently suggested as being important in leaders. Approachability and supportiveness were perceived as important in direct supervisors. Institutional leaders were perceived as needing to be decision-makers. Participation in staff development was overall not perceived to be highly important.