Assessing the educational needs of community sexual healthcare practitioners

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Colleges, School and Institutes


There is wide variation in the quality and nature of community sexual health service delivery in the UK, which has led to a number of professional and Government-led directives to improve service provision. One key target is the provision of appropriate training and updating of staff in order to maintain an appropriate skill level. To identify the educational development needs of community sexual health nursing and medical staff, preparatory to commissioning appropriate educational provision, a training needs analysis survey was conducted. This involved using a customised psychometrically valid and reliable instrument, which was administered to all relevant staff for self-completion. Fifty-four (67.5%) of all doctors and nurses working in a community sexual health directorate responded. For the whole sample, the following categories of development need were identified: professional development; research; legal issues; clinical practice; and communication/interpersonal skills. When the nursing and medical subsamples were analysed separately, the same generic training needs emerged, although the nurses and doctors identified 22 and 25 significant training needs, respectively. The reported skills deficits cluster into super-ordinate groups which resonate with other available literature. This suggests that each category could be reliably used to inform a short course or series of modules, either for the whole sample or for each professional group. The results also suggest that the instrument is viable for use with healthcare professionals working in this specialty. Consequently, if this approach to identifying skill deficits was adopted, limited educational budgets could be used to provide courses which would meet the real training needs of staff, and if offered as a shared learning opportunity, could promote multidisciplinary team-working. In this way, improved local healthcare provision could be readily realised, with the potential for reducing current variations in the quality of community sexual health provision.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)323-329
Number of pages7
JournalHealth and Social Care in the Community
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2005


  • community sexual healthcare, continuing professional development, educational needs analysis