NSGC Code of Ethics
A Code of Ethics is a document which attempts to clarify and guide the conduct of a professional so that the goals and values of the profession might best be served.
Genetic counselors are health professionals with specialized education, training, and experience in medical genetics and counseling. The National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC) is the leading voice, authority and advocate for the genetic counseling profession. As such, the NSGC is an organization that furthers the professional interests of genetic counselors, promotes a network for communication within the profession, and deals with issues relevant to human genetics. With the establishment of this code of ethics the NSGC affirms the ethical responsibilities of its members and provides them with guidance in their relationships with self, clients, colleagues, and society. NSGC members are expected to be aware of the ethical implications of their professional actions and to adhere to the guidelines and principles set forth in this code.
A code of ethics is a document that attempts to clarify and guide the conduct of a professional so that the goals and values of the profession might best be served. The NSGC Code of Ethics is based upon the relationships genetic counselors have with themselves, their clients, their colleagues, and society. Each major section of this code begins with an explanation of one of these relationships, along with some of its values and characteristics. These values are drawn from the ethical principles of autonomy, beneficence, nonmaleficence, and justice. Although certain values are found in more than one relationship, these common values result in different guidelines within each relationship.
No set of guidelines can provide all the assistance needed in every situation, especially when different relationships appear to conflict. Therefore, when considered appropriate for this code, specific guidelines for prioritizing the relationships have been stated. In other areas, some ambiguity remains, allowing for the experience of genetic counselors to provide the proper balance in responding to difficult situations.
Genetic counselors value competence, integrity, veracity, dignity, and self-respect in themselves as well as in each other. Therefore, in order to be the best possible human resource to themselves, their clients, their colleagues, and society, genetic counselors strive to:
The counselor-client relationship is based on values of care and respect for the client’s autonomy, individuality, welfare, and freedom. The primary concern of genetic counselors is the interests of their clients. Therefore, genetic counselors strive to:
The genetic counselors’ relationships with other genetic counselors, students, and other health professionals are based on mutual respect, caring, cooperation, and support. Therefore, genetic counselors strive to:
The relationships of genetic counselors with society include interest and participation in activities that have the purpose of promoting the well-being of society and access to health care. Therefore, genetic counselors, individually or through their professional organizations, strive to:
Adopted 1/92 by the National Society of Genetic Counselors, Inc.; Revised 12/04, 1/06