Background Increasingly ‘simple’ sexual health services (e.g. asymptomatic screening) are provided by Healthcare Assistants (HCA’s). There is no nationally accredited training for this staff group and clinical services usually provide in house training to develop their theoretical knowledge and skills.
Aim To develop and evaluate a course for HCA’s working in sexual health.
Methods We designed a 2-day course covering 14 topics based on the structure of the STIF course. Content and learning objectives were devised using existing competencies and in consultation with the multi-disciplinary team. Nurses deliver the course using a mixed teaching methodology (lectures, role play and interactive workshops). Learning outcomes include:
Understand the principles of asymptomatic STI testing
Understand issues relating to confidentiality, vulnerable patients and partner notification
Feeling comfortable and competent taking a sexual history
Optimise care pathways with local relevant support services
Understand the range of human sexualities, lifestyles and culture and their impact on transmission, prevention and counselling
Results The course has run on 2 occasions with a total of 18 attendees: both sexual health HCAs and practitioners from other specialities (e.g. A+E and gynaecology). All topics were well evaluated with a mean overall score of 4.55/5 (range 3.8–5). Free text comments were positive with specific reference to how “valuable”, “useful” and “relevant” the course was.
Discussion We have designed, delivered and evaluated a successful sexual health course for HCAs that could easily be nationally accredited and delivered in other services and settings.
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