A sexual health nurse typically works at a clinic that deals primarily with family planning or sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). She might be responsible for providing information about various types of contraception. Other times, she may perform pelvic exams or run tests to check for STDs. The nurse might also speak to groups of people in order to raise awareness of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS).
People often visit a sexual health nurse for advice concerning family planning. This professional can advise clients as to the various forms of birth control available. She might also tell her patients how to use different methods of contraception in order for them to be most effective.
In some cases, a physical examination might be necessary before a patient can be prescribed certain types of birth control. A sexual health nurse might perform these exams and relay the results to the clinic physician. In some cases, she might administer certain types of contraception to her patients, for example, giving patients the birth control shot.
Other times, people might need a physical exam to check for STDs. The sexual health nurse may examine a person's genitals to check for warts. She might also draw blood and test it for other diseases, such as syphilis or gonorrhea. If a patient is diagnosed with an STD, the nurse may ask the clinic physician to prescribe medication.
A sexual health nurse may sometimes be invited to speak to various groups about HIV and AIDS. This is to raise awareness and hopefully prevent the spread of these conditions. She may talk about the various ways these diseases can be contracted and recommend ways to reduce the chances of being infected. People who feel they might be at risk are usually encouraged to be tested for these diseases.
If a person tests positive for HIV, a sexual health nurse might be able to recommend help for them. This could be a referral to a doctor to treat their condition as well as a mental health professional to provide counseling and moral support. She might sometimes help the patient tell his family and friends about the diagnosis.
The qualifications for a sexual health nurse vary from one region to the next, but generally include at least two years of college. Many locations require nurses to pass a licensing exam before they can work in this capacity. Other requirements are usually two years of practical experience or college courses dealing with reproductive health.