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Thursday, 24 September 2015

Career Guest Post; Working as an NHS Sexual Health Nurse

Name:  Lynsey 


Industry: NHS Sexual Health

Job Title: Sexual Health Support Worker

Brief description of job role and industry: 

I work for the NHS in a hospital as a Sexual Health Support Worker. My main roles are to manage the STI test results and call patients to let them know they have an infection and book them in for treatment. I also conduct routine sexual health screens for people with no symptoms. That involves blood taking for tests such as HIV and i also give advice and support with any sexual health related issues a patient may have. Outreach work is also a big part of my job role which involves me going to colleges and delivering sexual health educational chats to young people. 

An average day consists of…  

No day is ever the same in sexual health! I can either be based in the clinic or out and about doing outreach work. First things first I check my emails and voicemails that patients may have left me regarding any advice or requesting test results that they need. I then go through all the test results and start ringing patients to let them know they have a STI and book them in for treatment. My day always varies,  I could be in charge of ‘routine screening’ so I will see patients and go through their sexual history and conduct any tests that they may need and then in the afternoon I could be doing outreach work at a college giving a sexual health talk to students about STI’s and contraception!  

Qualifications/experience required: 

I only have my GCSE’s and A-Levels! I stumbled into sexual health by pure luck! Before I was a maternity health care assistant in the same hospital so it helped that I had hospital and medical experience already. 

Career progression:

I work alongside two health advisors who are senior to me. To go from a sexual health support worker to a sexual health advisor you need a degree or a counselling qualification in order to move up. 

Best tip to crack the industry: 

Get as much medical/hospital work experience as you can and do your homework on STI’s and basic sexual health! You also need to be comfortable discussing sexual health with people and be mature about it! I had to demonstrate how to put a condom on a plastic penis in my job interview. I also had to then choose a word from a list of sex related words and describe what it was and what advice i would give to a patient regarding it. I ended up choosing blow job and well all i can say is… that job interview was the weirdest and funniest job interview i have ever had!

Who would be suitable for this job? 

You need to be confident and professional when it comes to discussing sexual health. You should be mature and sensitive as you have to ask people very personal questions about their genitals and sex life! You also need to be extremely hot on privacy and confidentiality. Patients have a lot of anxiety about their privacy and not wanting people to find out they have been to the clinic or have an infection, so it is your job to reassure them and protect peoples privacy. A non judgemental attitude is VITAL in sexual health! You will meet people from all walks of life, ages, sex and sexual preferences. A friendly personality also goes a very long way in this area of work!

Best thing about my job: 

You won’t find a better team of colleagues than in sexual health! They are all so down to earth, relaxed and friendly! Although sexual health can be serious it is also a very fun and interesting place to work! You are guaranteed to have a laugh every day. Plus i love helping people and i get huge job satisfaction when i make a patients day a more positive one. 

Worst thing about my job: 

Worst thing about my job: Delivering bad news can be pretty tough sometimes and it is also difficult not to get emotionally involved in some patients difficult experiences and stories.  


1 comment

  1. not something I would be able to do, I'm terrible with dealing with people!

    Pam xo/ Pam Scalfi♥


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