Members of the Faculty of Sexual & Reproductive Healthcare (FSRH) have voted overwhelmingly to widen membership to include nurses, paving the way for the development of a new nationally recognised qualification for nurses working in sexual health. This happened last Thursday at an extraordinary general meeting before the Current Choices Conference in London, after which Dr Chris Wilkinson made a formal announcement it in his President’s opening address to the conference. This brought forth spontaneous applause and positive comments from Minister for Public Health, Jane Ellison MP, who said:
“This announcement is a groundbreaking moment for multi-disciplinary working in the health service. I am delighted to see the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare leading the way in opening up their membership to nurses, ensuring that doctors and nurses work together to set standards and improve patient care. I hope this will act as an example for all services.”
and Director of Nursing for Public Health England, Professor Viv Bennett, who added:
“Effective accessible sexual health services need highly skilled teams. It is fantastic that the Faculty is valuing the key roles of nurses in the multi-disciplinary team, providing the opportunity for nurses in sexual health to gain a nationally recognised qualification and through membership to the Faculty ensuring nurses play a national strategic role in developing sexual health services as well as providing high quality services to people locally”
The FSRH becomes one of the very few medical Colleges and Faculties to include nurses within its membership, reflecting the key role that nurses play in the delivery of sexual health care, and the organisation’s desire to promote and develop multi-disciplinary working in sexual health.
What this means in practice is that from January 2014 nurses will be able to become full members of the FSRH by following the same route as doctors and completing the Nurse Diploma. Within the new training structure (for doctors and nurses) there will be a new online knowledge assessment (eKA) which will test the theoretical knowledge gained from the e-SRH or elsewhere. Those who wish to go on to complete a diploma will (after passing the eKA) complete the Course of 5 workshops followed by the ACPs (assessments of clinical practice) as doctors currently do. All of these will be logged via an online e-portfolio. An additional change is that doctors and nurses will, in future, be able to undertake the LoCs (Letters of Competence) for either SDIs or IUTs without first having to complete the diploma – they will, however, have to pass the eKA first.
Further information will be posted on the FSRH website nearer the time of launch.