In order to improve the equality and quality of sexual and reproductive health education and services, there is a need for greater focus on this area of workforce development. With a strong government focus on the role of primary care now and into the future, a workforce skilled in sexual and reproductive health is essential. Of particular note, is the need to:
- Undertake further work to expand the scope of practice for sexual and reproductive health nurses
- Develop a national standardised training and professional development course on sexual and reproductive health for nurses and make it available on-line
- Improve training and development opportunities for those working in Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organizations
- Improve training and development for teachers to deliver comprehensive relationships and sexuality education to young people in schools; and
- Recognise sexual and reproductive health interventions, such as family planning, screening for cancer and screening for violence, as important primary health care interventions.
In November 2012, SH&FPA convened the first sexual and reproductive health Workforce Advisory Group to discuss workforce issues and develop actions to address these issues.
The key issues included broad workforce concerns, such as training, staff retention, the need for cultural competency and the recognition that SRH is a specialised area while understanding the SRH educational needs of the whole health workforce. Nurses and midwives were discussed specifically, such as the expanding scope of practice for midwives and the need to be proactive in training nurses. The need for policy and advocacy actions was considered, recognising the need to bring the issue of the SRH workforce onto the political and public agenda. The problems with data collection were also raised, as well as the particular issues for Aboriginal communities.