Name: Jodie Bridges
Job title: Clinical Nurse Specialist
Organisation: Spectrum Wakefield Integrated Sexual Health Clinic
What is your current role?
I am currently working as a clinical nurse specialist in an integrated sexual health clinic. I provide sexual health and contraception care to service users.
What prompted you to do this role?
I had applied for multiple Sexual Health posts, but had been unsuccessful due to not having any experience. This was the main reason i volunteered. I saw the job vacancy for my current role whilst i was on maternity leave and applied for the job as a training post.
What was your route to this role?
I have always been interested in Sexual Health and was interested in family planning whilst studying health studies at school. I was quite a confident girl, so I always chose to speak about a sexual health issue. I went on to study Nursing at The University of Sheffield and applied for my first post grad position in Gynaecology. Unfortunately, this was a very popular choice and I wasn't successful on securing the post, so I spent 2.5 years working in acute medicine.
This provided me with core nursing skills, however I didn't feel fulfilled. I applied for a position of a Fertility Nurse Specialist at a local private clinic and spent just over 6 years in that position. I felt it was linked to family planning, however i was just helping to create them rather than prevent. As part of my role I recruited egg donors and part of their pathway was to have a sexual health screen. During my time as a Fertility Nurse I volunteered for Sexual Health Sheffield as a Sexual Health Champion and often frequented local festivals and club nights providing sexual health advice and condoms.
What education/courses/modules have you undertaken to equip you for the role?
I have now completed the BASHH Competency course and just awaiting my completion date for the FRSH diploma.
How do you see yourself developing your skills?
I would like to continue in my role and learn skills of implant fitting and complete a Nurse prescribing course.
What is your long-term career plan?
Implant training, nurse prescribing and becoming a nurse practitioner.
What advice would you give someone thinking about moving to work in sexual health?
If it is an area you are interested in, then go for it. It is a lot of training initially and a lot of studying, but really interesting and only adds weight to your CPD. There is always something new each day and you will never stop learning!
What do you most enjoy about this area of care?
It is different every day! I love to educate younger service users about sexual health and contraception. Even if it just changes one person's thought process, it is worthwhile.