Tuesday, 13 November 2018 15:13

Genomics Specialist Careers: meet the workforce

What is a clinical bioinformatician? Are clinical geneticists doctors? What does a genetic counsellor do? Find out about these essential roles in our new films

As genomics becomes embedded into routine patient care, new roles and professions have emerged, while existing roles for some healthcare professionals have changed as a result of advances in technology and understanding. Our new film series has been developed to look at some of these often-forgotten specialist roles within the genomics multidisciplinary team in a hospital. The series is targeted at both healthcare professionals who want to learn more about genomics but also those considering a career in genomics in the future.

The world of clinical bioinformatics

Clinical bioinformaticians work to make genome data clinically actionable; to organise and catalogue large amounts of data so that other healthcare professionals can use it to inform decisions about diagnosis, treatment and care. Working within a large multidisciplinary team, clinical bioinformaticians are collaborators and communicators, working with and applying different techniques when considering each patient.

In this first film we learn what the work of a clinical bioinformatician involves, the traits and the skills required and some of the challenges facing those in the profession.

If you are interested in learning more about bioinformatics join our ‘Introduction to Bioinformatics’ course here.

The cutting-edge speciality

Clinical geneticists are qualified doctors who specialise in genetic conditions and have specialist understanding of both the clinical presentation of rare genetic disorders and the laboratory features that go along with them.

Our second film showcases the role of the clinical geneticist, including the new challenges they face and the way their role is changing due to the increased use of genomics in mainstream care. As members of the multidisciplinary team, geneticists are increasingly required to support colleagues across the health system to interpret test results and devise treatment plans for their patients.

Explaining genomics

Genetic counsellors are specialists in unravelling the complexities of genomics for the patient and family in front of them. They work with patients who are questing risks inherent in their families, both prior to genomic testing and afterwards, as well as counselling families who have received a genomic diagnosis for the first time. Consultant genetic counsellors tend to specialise in a particular clinical area and bring this expert knowledge to the genetics service when they see patients.

Increasingly, as genomics is mainstreamed across the NHS, genetic counsellors are called upon more and more to educate other healthcare professionals. Our new film ‘Meet the genetic counsellors’ looks at the role that genetic counsellors play in the multidisciplinary team and how they interact with patients.

This series forms part of a substantial education programme to inform healthcare professionals about the impact of genomics on clinical practice. These films are some of the many educational resources available from the Genomics Education Programme.