arrow_up-blue blog branches consultations events facebook-icon facebook-icon2 factsheet forum-icon forum hands key link location lock mail measure menu_plus news pdf pdf2 phone policies publications related search share subjectguide twitter-icon word instagram-icon youtube-icon
Sexual health training directory

Sexual health education directory

Royal College of Nursing Logo                                                     

This resource highlights training and qualification requirements for registered nurses, midwives, health advisers and nursing associates as well as unregistered health care support staff working in sexual health.

Sexual Health (SH) encompasses: genito-urinary medicine, sexual and reproductive health, psychosexual medicine and counselling, abortion services and HIV. See the RCN umbrella diagram which shows the breadth of SH provision. It is delivered in various settings, providing care across specialised services as well in primary care and third sector organisations. 

This resource provides an outline of the education and qualifications needed for nursing and midwifery staff working in sexual health and HIV care and the relevant qualifying bodies for these education programmes. Different levels of education and qualifications are available to develop the necessary expertise to deliver quality care. 

The resource focuses on SH and HIV learning requirements. It is not intended, however, as a definitive list of all the courses available. It doesn’t cover wider aspects of education and learning that professionals will need to fulfill their role and give them a broader depth of knowledge and skills. 

Sexual Health Strategy

This resource has been created to sit alongside the RCN publication Sexual and reproductive health: education, training and career progression in nursing and midwifery, which offers detail on the routes available to train in sexual and reproductive health, and signposts nurses and midwives to valuable information. 

This online resource will be updated periodically as new programmes and courses become available.

There is variation across the UK four countries in terms of commissioning, government guidance, documents on standards and nurse education. 

  • The Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Health Care (FSRH) and the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV (BASHH) courses are standard across the four countries.  
  • Many services are becoming integrated, providing a wider range of sexual / reproductive and HIV care. Practitioner’s expert in one area may need to get education and develop expertise in other areas to ensure they can provide quality integrated care packages. For example, a nurse may have learning and expertise contraception but will need additional knowledge and skills in the wider aspects of sexual health and HIV in order to function within an integrated service provider. 

This resource should be used alongside the RCN Sexual Health education training and career progression document and the RCN Sexual Health umbrella diagram above (you can see a larger version in the 'RCN sexual health umbrella diagram' box below) which highlight the breadth of the speciality and the various routes into it. 

This resource has been endorsed by:

BASHH

Introduction

This document covers:

  • Nurses/midwives/practice nurses/school nurses working in sexual and reproductive health care services
  • Midwives and nurses - working in abortion services
  • Advanced Clinical Practitioner (ACP)
  • Health advisers who are also registered nurses;
  • Nursing Associates; England only
  • Health care support workers (HCSW); include all unregistered staff involved in SH services. Including Assistant Practitioners (APs) and Nursery Nurses as well as Health Care Assistants involved in SH services.

The word nurse refers to any registered nurse, midwife, health visitor, school nurse, mental health nurse.

For detailed information on medicines management see the RCN's medicines management clincial topic page. There is also a subpage specifically on Patient Group Directions (PGD) and Patient Specific Directions (PSD).

Nurses who work in sexual and reproductive health and HIV will require education and knowledge to work with a PGD or be holding the recordable qualification as an independent prescriber.

Nursing Associates and health care support staff will be working as part of sexual and reproductive health care. When administering medicines these staff must work to a PSD.

It is imperative that all those who provide information and support to people on sexual and reproductive and HIV issues, have the required level of knowledge even if not providing direct sexual / reproductive or HIV care.

The Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (FSRH) and some universities/Higher Educational Institutes (HEIs) and the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) offer one-off introductory days which provide people with ‘a taster’ to this area of practice.

The courses listed below are suitable for nurses/midwives and other health care professionals who are interested in the speciality but do not provide direct care to individuals.

At the end of these programmes, professionals will have a greater understanding of SH, know where and how to refer and understand the importance of early intervention.

The FSRH have other related e-learning courses:

Sexual Health Strategy


Part 1

Nurse sitting at a desk on a computer

Education programmes for providing Sexual Health Services (SH) and Genitourinary Medicine (GUM) and HIV


The below criteria are for entry level roles providing routine care within a team and with support from advanced practitioner.

Essential criteria

  • Current Registered Nurse (RN) - Qualifying body: NMC 
  • Registered Midwife (RM) - Qualifying body: NMC

Nursing and midwifery practitioners will also need introductory education programmes. You can view these in the introduction.

Desirable criteria

  • Degree in relevant subject area (SH) - Qualifying body: University - NB: Degree in SH FSRH diploma not available in Northern Ireland

Contraception

  • SH Modules from a university - Qualifying body: Local University - Check with local university and programme leads for details.

    AND/OR


Scotland

Wales

  • FSRH - The FSRH diploma is available and Public Health Wales are facilitating and funding some elements of this at present.
  • University of South Wales - See: Post grad diploma or MSc

UK-wide / Other courses

Essential criteria

  • Current Registered Nurse (RN) - Qualifying body: NMC
  • Registered Midwife (RM) - Qualifying body: NMC

Desirable criteria

  • Degree in relevant subject area (SH) - Qualifying body: Individual universities - check with local university and programme leads for details

Scotland

Wales

Contraception

OR

Contraception FSRH LoC SDI-IR / FSRH LoC IUT

Letter of Competence Sub Dermal Implant Insertion and Removal (LoC SDI – IR)
Letter of Competence Sub Dermal Implant Insertion only 
(LoC SDI – IO)
Letter of Competence Sub Dermal Implant Removal only 
(LoC SDI – RO)
Letter of Competence Intrauterine techniques 
(LoC IUT)

  • Local HEIs - Locally agreed programmes are available in some areas via local institutions

STI  / STIF intermediate

Cervical Cytology Diploma / Certificate in Cervical Cytology or relevant qualification

Independent prescribing qualification

  • Local university - Check with local university and programme leads for details.

Essential criteria

  • Masters level award in relevant subject area - University - Check with local university and programme leads for details.
  • PGDiploma or MSc Advanced Clinical Practice (or equivalent) - HEI - Check with local university and programme leads for details.
  • Independent and supplementary non-medical prescribing - HEI - Check with local university and programme leads for details.
  • Completion of the national curriculum for ACPs (integrated Sexual health)  - Joint board BASHH, FSRH & NHIVNA - See: FSRH, BASHH and NHIVNA to launch advanced level curriculum (ACP) for nurses

Desirable criteria

Part 2

Nurse looking in microscope

Education requirements for providing Sexual and Reproductive Health services in Primary care


Essential criteria

  • Current Registered Nurse (RN) - Qualifying body: NMC
  • Registered Midwife (RM) - Qualifying body: NMC

Nursing and midwifery practitioners will also need introductory education programmes. You can view these in the introduction.

  • Degree in relevant SH subject area - Individual universities - Check with local university and programme lead for details

Scotland

Wales

Desirable criteria

Relevant STI courses

Relevant contraception courses 

Letter of Competence Sub Dermal Implant Insertion and Removal (LoC SDI – IR)
Letter of Competence Sub Dermal Implant Insertion only (LoC SDI – IO)
Letter of Competence Sub Dermal Implant Removal only (LoC SDI – RO)
Letter of Competence Intrauterine techniques (LoC IUT)

STIF integrated - BASHH - see: Sexually Transmitted Infection Foundation (STIF) Integrated competencies

HIV / STI course

C Card training

  • C Card training - see: local education providers. C Card training is available across the country through local education providers to support C-Card schemes; to provide young people (age 13 – 25) with sexual health support easy access to free contraception, education about sexual health and wellbeing. 

Independent and supplementary non-medical prescribing

  • Independent and supplementary non-medical prescribing - see: local HEI. Check with local university and programme leads for details.

Cervical cytology

Part 3

Two nurses having a conversation

Education programmes for Midwives and Nurses in working in abortion care

The below criteria are for programmes for Midwives and Nurses in working in abortion care, offering sexual health and contraception.

Essential criteria

  • Current Registered Nurse (RN) - Qualifying body: NMC
  • Registered Midwife (RM) - Qualifying body: NMC

Nursing and midwifery practitioners will also need introductory education programmes. You can view these in the introduction.

Desirable criteria

Contraception

  • FSRH LoC SDI-IR / FSRH LoC IUT - FSRH, or locally agreed training organisation - see: FSRH Education and Training

Letter of Competence Sub Dermal Implant Insertion and Removal (LoC SDI – IR)
Letter of Competence Sub Dermal Implant Insertion only (LoC SDI – IO)
Letter of Competence Sub Dermal Implant Removal only (LoC SDI – RO)
Letter of Competence Intrauterine techniques (LoC IUT)

Module in abortion termination of pregnancy care 

Module in abortion termination of pregnancy care - FSRH - see: Specialist Skills modules Faculty Certificate in Abortion Care

Part 4

Screen

Education programmes for Sexual Health Advisors (SHA) who are also registered nurses

Essential criteria

  • Current Registered Nurse (RN) - Qualifying body: NMC
  • Registered Midwife (RM) - Qualifying body: NMC

Health advisors will also need introductory education programmes. You can view these in the introduction.

See: STIF Sexual Health Advising Competency

Desirable criteria

Part 5

Nurse carrying out a task

Education requirements for Nursing Associates (England only)

Essential criteria

  • Registered Nursing Associate Nurse (from Jan 2019) - NMC
  • e-knowledge SRH essentials / STIF fundamental - FSRH - see: SRH Essentials for Primary Care and BASHH - see: Sexually Transmitted Infection Foundation (STIF) Foundation courses
  • C Card training  - see local education providers - C Card training is available across the country through local education providers to support C-Card schemes; to provide young people (age 13 – 25) with sexual health support easy access to free contraception, education about sexual health and wellbeing 

Part 6

Nurse

Education requirements for Health Care support Workers Health Care Assistants Unregistered staff working in Sexual and Reproductive Health Care

Essential criteria

  • National Vocational Award (NVQ) level 2 or 3 or working towards -  Higher Educational Institution 

HCSW may also find the essential SRH module of use providing they have an appropriate practice assessor/supervisor on the workplace.

Desirable criteria

  • C Card training - Local education providers - C Card training is available across the country through local education providers to support C-Card schemes; to provide young people (age 13 – 25) with sexual health support easy access to free contraception, education about sexual health and wellbeing 
  • STIF theory / STIF fundamental and in-house training - BASHH - see: Sexually Transmitted Infection Foundation (STIF) Foundation courses

Part 7

Nurse preparing a slide for microscope

Cervical Cytology – Education training and skills requirement for all areas of practice

Essential criteria

  • Current Registered Nurse (RN) - Qualifying body: NMC 
  • Registered Midwife (RM) - Qualifying body: NMC
  • Registered Nursing Associates (NA) [England Only] - Qualifying body: NMC 

Essential requirement across the UK that registered health care professionals only undertake smear tests on completion of the relevant training. The core clinical competencies are laid down in the Skills for Health competency framework as set out in the NHS CSP sample taker training guidance

Nursing Associates meet the NHS CSP requirement that sample takers need to be registered health professionals.

England

  • City and Guilds Cervical Cytology Diploma or Certificate in Cervical Cytology - National Health Service Cervical Screening PHE / PHE Cervical Screening Consolidated standards

See:

Scotland

Northern Ireland

  • Certificate in cervical cytology currently not available - Breast and cervical screening programmes only at Queens University Belfast (QUB) - see: Stand alone modules

Wales

Glossary

BASHH - British Association for sexual health and HIV

DFSRH - Diploma Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Health (NB: the mnemonic N (NDFSRH) was previously used to differentiate between registered nurses who had undertaken the course. It is no longer used, all professionals who successfully complete the programme are awarded a DFSRH)

eKA - electronic Knowledge Acquisition

FSRH - Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Health

GUM - Genito Urinary Medicine

HEE - Health Education England

HEI - Higher Educational Institution

HIV - Human Immunodeficiency Virus

LoC - Letter of Competence

NES - NHS Education for Scotland  

NHIVNA  - National HIV Nurses Association

NMC - Nursing and Midwifery Council

PHE - Public Health England

PGD - Patient Group Directions

PSD - Patient Specific Directions

IUT - Intra Uterine Techniques

NHSCSP - National Health Service Cervical Screening Programme

PCCPD - Primary Care Continuing Professional Development

RCGP - Royal College of General Practitioners

RCN - Royal College of Nursing

SDI - Sub dermal implants

SHA - Sexual health advisor

SH - Sexual Health; includes - genito-urinary medicine, sexual & reproductive health, abortion services and HIV

STIF - Sexually Transmitted Infections Foundation. Nationally recognised sexual health training and assessment programme from basic through to advanced level practice.

QUB - Queens University Belfast

Page last updated - 04/07/2019