Nurses! Become Faculty Registered Trainers! You can do it! By Caroline Gumbley

Posted 21 Mar 2019

Date: 21 Mar 2019

Author: Caroline Gumbley

FSRH has made it possible for nurses to become Faculty Registered Trainers (FRTs) over recent years. With increasing SRH services being nurse led it seems appropriate that nurses are encouraged to take on this fulfilling role. Caroline Gumbley describes the training, role and benefits of being an FRT from a nurse perspective.

Caroline Gumbley Nurse FSRH TrainerSince I obtained ENB 901 very many years ago things have changed for nurses in the field of sexual health. Initially nursing duties in "Family Planning" clinics and GP surgeries were giving depo injections, doing pill checks, smears, providing condoms and chaperoning the doctors for IUCD and subdermal implant procedures. Any problems with pills/contraception were automatically referred to the doctor to discuss a possible change of pill or method.

How times have changed!

Now we have nurses prescribing, running specialist clinics, fitting and removing IUCD and subdermal implants, changing contraception and training doctors and nurses. Many SRH clinics and services in general practice are primarily nurse led.

Over the years the FSRH has recognised the role nurses could play and has been highly supportive of nurse development. Nurses now have the opportunity to impart their knowledge to those new to the field and we should embrace this opportunity.

I seem to have spent my nursing life in settings associated with being " first in development". I qualified from the Nightingale School of Nursing - the first training school for nurses set up in 1860. I was one of the first nurses to become a trainer in insertion and removal of subdermal implants - primarily to offer LARC training for a project in Wiltshire. I was also one of the first to undertake the new Postgraduate Award in Medical Education at Keele University which was a requirement for new FRTs.

My motivation to become a trainer primarily came from my hugely enthusiastic and encouraging clinical lead in sexual health. My wish became to educate future nurses and doctors in a subject I am passionate about, and to enhance their learning experience in the way mine has been.

Nurses and doctors regularly approached me for advice and with a steady group of newly qualified doctors coming through our training practice it seemed an ideal opportunity to train them "officially". The Partners and staff at the surgery also encouraged and supported my development.

Health Care Professionals (HCPs) - particularly those in general practice have found it difficult to access training and consequently were unable to give the most appropriate methods of contraception. By perhaps being more available than those in specialist SRH services I felt I was able to provide training to a wider group.

I have found being an FRT has been a great way to maintain and develop my own SRH knowledge and skills. Before each training session - whether it be LoC teaching or DFSRH, or teaching larger groups of specialist nurses and doctors - I ensure I check new guidelines to ensure I am giving the most up to date guidance to my learners.

Nurses need to hold current NMC registration and hold a current FSRH Diploma to become an FRT. You need to have a Postgraduate certificate in Medical/Clinical/Healthcare Education or successfully completed the Postgraduate Course in Medical Education in SRH within the last 5 years. I undertook a pilot of this course at Keele University where 4 nurses were amongst approximately 20 doctors undertaking this course.

My teaching skills were vastly developed throughout this course to enable me to manage the variety of trainees and scenarios. The course was quite intimidating initially and some doctors found it hard to accept nurses were suitable for the role. To be honest this is something I came across even when training- particularly in the early days. But with FRT numbers limited, people are grateful for either a nurse or a doctor now to see them through their training. I believe my increased confidence and knowledge has shown my trainees that being a nurse is no barrier to becoming an FRT and I know from feedback that my nurse trainees are somewhat relieved to have a nurse rather than a doctor as their FRT.

In practice I have trained a number of colleagues- nurses and doctors- in a variety of skills and certificates. In a training practice I feel the GPs, salaried doctors, registrars and nurses have all gained by having me at hand.

I would strongly recommend all nurses with a passion in SRH to consider becoming an FRT. FSRH have been at the forefront of recognising the abilities of nurses and enabling our success. Now is our chance to join them to help in future developments.

Read more about becoming a Faculty Registered Trainer and routes open to learners here.