Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Developing an Interest in Sexual Health

Rachael Hamilton, one of our  ST3s talks about how she has developed her special interest in sexual health.

"As you can imagine, Sexual Health forms a large proportion of consultations in General Practice. It was during my first 6 months of General Practice in ST1 that I appreciated just how many! How to help patients in choosing the best and safest method of contraception for them? What to do if they have adverse effects, complications? How to manage tricky ethical issues? I fast found myself wishing to become more knowledgeable in this area and made it one of my goals whilst in General Practice training to complete the Diploma in Sexual and Reproductive Health (DFSRH).

The diploma was straight forward to apply for by emailing the DFSRH co-ordinator for the Northeast of Scotland and filling out the appropriate forms. The DFSRH comprises of three stages. Firstly, an online knowledge assessment - a straightforward test of basic theory. Secondly, a course which comprises of 5 hours of small group workshops - this was an informal and friendly day out of practice, a chance to show my knowledge by participating in group discussion and learn more from the experts. Finally, a few days spent with the experts at the centre for Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare to gain clinical experience and be observed as part of an assessment.

I found the diploma fascinating and so worthwhile. The workload was very manageable whilst being a full time GPST. I completed the first part of the diploma in ST1, the practical sessions in ST2 and so when returning to General Practice in ST3 I had achieved my diploma. I was so much more confident consulting with patients regarding contraception, related ethical issues and sexual health problems. Once every couple of weeks I now do the contraceptive clinic at the practice which comprises solely of performing contraceptive implant procedures. As well as this being very helpful for the practice, it can be a lovely alternative to 10 minute consultations!

Aberdeen now offers a career start programme in Sexual and Reproductive Health which enables you to become even more experienced in this area.

Whether you wish to carry out the Sexual and Reproductive Health diploma for increased knowledge or to pursue it as a specialist interest, I would highly recommend it!


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