"...Learning about HIV and STI control while also learning about the public health aspect, really appealed to me... With the current COVID-19 pandemic, I thought I would struggle with exclusively online learning. However, I was surprised with how well the units have been delivered online."
My nursing career commenced in a busy metropolitan emergency department, where I worked for three years. During my time in emergency I developed a strong interest in sexual and reproductive health.
I contacted Hennie, the course coordinator, who provided me with an insight into the Graduate Certificate in Sexual Health and where it could take me in my career. The layout of the course, learning about HIV and STI control while also learning about the public health aspect, really appealed to me.
I felt the transition from undergraduate to postgraduate was a relatively smooth process. I was supported by my course coordinator and fellow peers. It’s very different working full time and studying, but I have felt engaged and supported throughout the course. The structure of the course facilitates students who are both studying and working.
With the current COVID-19 pandemic, I thought I would struggle with exclusively online learning. However, I was surprised with how well the units have been delivered online. We have been encouraged to convene with other students online through social platforms, which has helped me feel more connected to my peers.
I currently work part time across two public health services. I work as a Sexual Health Nurse at the Melbourne Sexual Health Centre (MSHC) and I also work as a Sexual and Reproductive Health Nurse in a women’s health clinic at Peninsula Health.
At the MSHC I work with men and women, screening, treating and managing a range of STIs and at the women’s health clinic, I work across three community health sites. My job there involves STI screening and most of my work is focused on contraception, cervical screening, unplanned pregnancies and menopausal symptoms. I feel right now that I truly have the best of both worlds and I love the variety between my two jobs.
I have invaluable support from doctors, nurse practitioners and my managers. What I love most is that both workplaces encourage professional development and completely support me in furthering my career.
I am inspired to educate the community about sexual health. It is clear there is a lack of knowledge amongst the general population and negative stigma associated with some areas of sexual health.
I feel the main issues we face in sexual health is patients being unable to access healthcare, especially to our core groups and remote population. I believe promoting sexual health, destigmatising the service and educating our population would ultimately have a positive impact on our overall level of health and reduce the burden on the healthcare system.
I hope to become a better clinician, have a more in depth understanding of sexual health and I to educate my colleagues with what I have learned and provide further access to sexual health services for all Australians.