Sexual health: education directory aims to promote nursing careers in the specialty

RCN unveils guide to sexual health nurse training and qualifications 

RCN unveils guide to sexual health nurse training and qualifications 

Picture: iStock

A training directory for sexual health nurses was published today by the RCN.

The college’s Sexual Health Education Directory outlines the qualifications nursing staff need to develop careers in the specialty and how they can gain access to them. 

RCN public health professional lead, Helen Donovan, said the pressures faced by sexual health services in England since budgets were transferred to ‘hard-pressed’ local authorities have left nurses feeling unsupported, with some even having to fund their own training.

Speciality in crisis

‘The sexual health nursing workforce is in crisis, with too much responsibility falling on too few nurses, sometimes only newly qualified,’ she said.

‘No-one is looking out for the development needs of these more inexperienced nursing staff, and we’ve heard of occasions when staff have had to self-fund a course to unlock the next stage of their career.’

Helen Donovan.
Picture: Barney Newman

An aid to career development

Ms Donovan said the college hoped the resource will encourage more nurses to pursue a career in sexual health.

‘The college felt it needed to step into the void and provide a proper resource that would help nurses take practical steps forward, and to attract more into this rewarding stream of nursing,’ she explained.

Ms Donovan said the college has asked the government to invest in local authority public health budgets but this ‘has yet to materialise’.

Whitehall funding

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: 'We have given local authorities £3 billion this year in ring-fenced funding to provide public health services including sexual health.  

'Prevention is at the heart of the NHS Long Term Plan, and we will soon be publishing a green paper exploring further ways to improve the public's health.'

The RCN unveiled the directory, funded by Health Education England, at the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV conference in Birmingham today.

Related Material

The RCN's Sexual Health Education Directory

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