Meet Elsie! A new tool for Genetic Counselors
I’m excited to announce that we’ve been working on a new tool for genetic counselors! The GC community has worked hard to gain recognition on the state and national level. In addition to ABGC certification, we can now be licensed in 22 states. But with that recognition comes more responsibility in the form of renewal requirements. Over the years, we’ve moved from a lifetime certification system to 5-year renewal terms, and even shorter state license terms, all with their own CEU requirements. That gives us a lot of stuff we have to keep an eye on, especially if we practice in more than one state.
I’m one of those people that tends to have way too much on my plate. With the current shortage of genetic counselors, I think a lot of us feel that way. I tend to put off the things that don’t need to happen right now until they become urgent. I’m a “wrap the presents in the parking lot before the party” kind of person. That habit of mine came back to haunt me in a big way the last time I had to recertify.
I was over 4 years in to my 5-year ABGC renewal term when I realized I only had 6.5 CEUs earned. I had attended some conferences in the last 4 years, but I had also had 2 kids, whose due dates had really messed with my conference plans. Now I had about 9 months to get 60 hours worth of CEUs done in time to recertify. There weren’t enough conferences available to attend that could give me all the units I needed.
I ended up purchasing the recordings to a previous NSGC conference which promised to be worth nearly 7 CEUs. When you get CEUs this way, you get a certificate for every single session you watch. By the time I finished, I had over 40 certificates, some for as little as 0.02 CEUs. Thankfully, I was able to apply to recertify on time, but the process was nerve-racking, stressful, and time-consuming.
To top it all off, I was audited. I now had to figure out how to get 40+ certificates to fit in one email. THAT was fun. Then it was time to renew my state license! Did you know that the CEU form for California is almost exactly the same as the form for ABGC, except they add one more column? And since it’s a PDF, you can’t just copy-paste the text from one form to the other all at once; you have do do it field-by-field, line-by-line. With over 40 courses to enter, it took me FOR. EV. ER. That’s just what I want to spend my precious time doing, right?
Elsie to the rescue!
My husband witnessed this whole renewal debacle I went through and assured me that software could help me with this problem. As a software engineer, he’s always trying to build things to make our lives easier. With something as important as my career on the line, we decided build a tool that would help me avoid the same headache every few years. We named our new creation Elsie.
We designed Elsie with a few goals in mind. To be useful, I need Elsie to:
- Keep track of both my certification and state license CEU requirements
- Remind me to stay on top of my CEUs before the last minute
- Give me a place to keep all my certificates so I can access them when I need them, whether I’m at work or at home
- Help me find renewal information and make the renewal process easier
I’m happy to say we came up with a tool that does just that. Elsie lets you easily visualize your progress towards all your renewals at once, no matter how many state licenses you hold. Email reminders periodically check in with you to make sure you’re keeping up and inform you of upcoming deadlines. You can upload all your CEU certificates, ABGC certification & licenses so you have them at your fingertips when you need them. We’ve compiled renewal info for ABGC and each of the state licenses that currently exist, along with links to applications and more resources.
We also have some more exciting plans in the works. We’ll soon let you export all your certificates for a certain renewal into a single file, just in case you get audited like I did. And for those of us that live in states that still make you renew on paper, we’re working to have Elise autofill the majority of those documents for you.
We’re putting the finishing touches on Elsie to make sure it’s ready to help all GCs in the US stay licensed and certified. If you’d like to be notified when it’s ready, request an invitation at MeetElsie.com. I hope you find it as useful as I have.
Learn more at MeetElsie.com!
Relevant Genetics and Elsie are not affiliated with ABGC, NSGC or any state government.