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Sexual health education and training

Sexual health education, training and professional associations

To ensure that patients receive high quality safe care it is essential that nurses, midwives and healthcare practitioners who work in sexual and reproductive health, contraception and HIV settings have the appropriate qualifications, knowledge, competence and skills.

For example, a nurse who provides contraception should have undertaken a course that includes theoretical knowledge and clinical placements so clinical competence can be assessed and demonstrated. Further information is provided in the course content below.

If you are looking for funding for courses the RCN Foundation provides a number of bursaries and scholarships each year. For more information, see: RCN Foundation

Across the UK there are a range of sexual and reproductive health, contraception and HIV coursesThis page provides examples of courses available, and is not intended as a definitive list for all courses:

  • Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (FSRH)
  • British Association of Sexual Health and HIV (BASHH) 
  • e-Learning resources
  • Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE
  • Higher Education Institutions

The Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (FSRH) Courses and Training

The FSRH provides programmes for all health care professionals working in sexual and reproductive health to support ensuring a standard of practice knowledge and skills. For information about courses provided by FSRH, see: FSRH education and training.

  • The Diploma. The FSRH Diploma is aimed at doctors and nurses who are already working in general practice, community and integrated sexual health services. By testing their knowledge and assessing their skills, the Diploma demonstrates that they can provide safe and effective sexual and reproductive health care in community, primary and secondary care settings. 
  • Letters of Competence: Subdermal Implants. This is a training programme aimed at doctors and nurses already working in general practice and community sexual health services who want to develop the necessary knowledge, attitude and skills to support women seeking contraception. It will enable them to provide and remove subdermal implants competently, and manage any complications or side-effects that may occur.
  • Letters of Competence: Intrauterine Devices. This is a training programme aimed at doctors and nurses already working in general practice and community sexual and reproductive health services who wish to develop the necessary knowledge, attitude and skills to support women seeking contraception. It will enable them to hold consultations, provide intrauterine contraception competently, and manage any complications or side-effects that may occur.
  • SRH Essentials. SRH Essentials for Practice Nurses is a one-day, interactive course for nurses working in primary care and other community settings. The aim of the course is for participants to develop knowledge and skills in sexual and reproductive healthcare.

British Association of Sexual Health and HIV (BASHH) Sexually Transmitted Infection Foundation Course (STIF)

The STIF Intermediate Competency Programme is a nationally recognised training and assessment qualification in sexual and reproductive health for doctors, nurses and midwives working in primary and secondary care. It was developed and is now administered by the British Association of Sexual health and HIV (BASHH). The STIF Intermediate Competency Programme involves clinical attachments during which time a trainee is observed working with patients, receives training and is assessed in practice. For further information, see: The STI Foundation. 

E-learning for Healthcare resources

  • Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare. e-SRH, e-learning for Sexual & Reproductive Healthcare, has been developed by the Faculty of Sexual & Reproductive Healthcare (FSRH) in partnership with Health Education England e-Learning for Healthcare (e-LfH).
  • E-learning for Sexual Health and HIV. eHIV-STI. has been developed by the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV (BASHH) and the Federation of Royal Colleges of Physicians in partnership with Health Education England e-Learning for Healthcare.
  • Sexual, reproductive and mental health. A free resource co-authored by Professor David Evans and Professor Kathryn Abel, psychiatrist and Dr Roxanne Agnew-Davies, domestic violence psychologist.

Social Care Institute for Excellence 

The Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) has a free e-learning course on sexual, reproductive and mental health. It was co-authored by Professor Kathryn Abel, psychiatrist, University of Manchester, Dr David Evans, senior lecturer in sexual health, University of Greenwich. and Dr Roxanne Agnew-Davies, psychologist and CEO of Domestic Violence Training Ltd. For more information, see: Sexual, reproductive and mental health e-learning course.

Higher Education Institutions

Middlesex University

Contraceptive and sexual health module at level 6 or 7. The modules can be undertaken as theory only or alongside clinical placements. (see below for details of the course structure)

  • Theory only: provides the knowledge for nurses to advise and support men and womenon sexual health and sexuality. Nurses undertaking the theory only element will not have the competence to work clinically in contraception and sexual health services.
  • Theory and practice: Will provide the knowledge base and enable nurses to become competent in the skills required to work clinically in sexual health services. The clinical competence component needs to be successfully completed and assessed within 3 years.
The module aims to develop health care practitioners who are able to work sensitively with clients and are able to understand the issues and management of contraception and sexually transmitted infections.  Completion of this module will give nurses a strong foundation of clinical and theoretical skills in contraception and sexual and reproductive health. It will enable health care practitioners to contribute more effectively to the sexual and reproductive health services and to evaluate the impact of sexual health policy and sexual health promotion strategies on service provision. 

Course structure:

  • Contraceptive and sexual health module Level 7
  • With clinical placements 30 credits
  • Without clinical placements 15 credits
  • Contraceptive and sexual health module Level 6
  • With clinical placements 30 credits
  • Without clinical placements 15 credits

For more information, see: 

University of Greenwich

The University of Greenwich provides a range of sexual health education, through accrediting prior experiential or certified learning. The university delivers a range of courses/programmes at levels 6 and 7.  These programmes include:

The courses can be taken on their own or put together for a full degree. The breadth of the programmes include:

  • Sexual Health Skills and Promoting Sexual Health
  • Sexual Infections
  • Contraception and Reproductive Health
  • HIV infections and disease
  • the accredited BASHH STIF-Intermediate course.

Most are delivered through blended learning approaches including classroom, on-line and practice experience.  

For more information, contact Dr David Evans, Professor in sexual health (D.T.Evans@greenwich.ac.uk / @David_T_Evans) or follow us on Twitter at @SexHealthUniGre

University of Lancashire

The University of Lancashire provides a variety of sexual health courses as standalone modules or as part of the MSc Sexual Health Studies (at the Preston campus). For further information, see: Sexual Health Studies MSc.

Modules available include:

Contraception: Theory and Practice’ which provides the appropriate theoretical knowledge and clinical skills for safe practice in issue of hormonal methods of contraception including: Combined Hormonal Contraception, Progestogen Only Pill, Injectable contraceptives and Emergency Hormonal Contraception (EHC) to clients in practice.

Other modules are available including ‘HIV and Hepatitis’, ‘Sexuality and Gender’, ‘Cytology’ and ‘Sexual Health Promotion’. For more information contact healthcpd@uclan.ac.uk 

University of the West of Scotland

The University of the West of Scotland provides a graduate certificate sexual and reproductive healthcare that is available for registered nurses and midwives. The course combines theory with practice placements to enable application of knowledge to skills in clinical practice.  

Sexual health is a national priority in Scotland. Many traditional family planning and genito-uriary services have integrated in order to provide a holistic, one-stop-shop approach to care.Clinical practice is integrated with the theoretical component of the programme and may be started after the first six days of theory. Health boards allocate clinical placements to students and clinic times vary depending on the health boards. The focus is on working in partnership with clients to promote excellence in sexual and reproductive healthcare. For more information, see: Sexual and reproductive health.

Edinburgh Napier University

Provide a graduate certificate on sexual and reproductive healthcare.  This programme is designed to develop an interest in and understanding of sexual and reproductive healthcare. This course also combines theory with practice learning and provides the knowledge and skills to equip nurses and midwives to work in sexual and reproductive healthcare services, and enables them to develop an enhanced level of clinical competence in sexual and reproductive healthcare service provision. For more information, see: Graduate Certificate. Sexual and Reproductive Health.