Over the past 12 years working in general practice as an advanced nurse practitioner (ANP), and ten years involvement in teaching ANPs, I have taken an active interest in women's health; in particular, how problems are assessed, diagnosed and treated in primary care.
This special interest has spurred me, and colleagues within the West Yorkshire region, to develop initiatives aimed at improving clinical competence in women's health and ultimately to improve care offered to patients presenting with gynaecological issues.
Unmet training needs
Teaching the advanced nurse practitioner MSc course at the University of Huddersfield has made me aware that many students struggle to grasp the clinical skills required in gynaecological examination and feel less confident taking histories of gynaecological and sexual health than other clinical histories.
Too many qualified ANPs working in primary care are assessing, diagnosing and managing patients presenting with gynaecological pathology with minimal training. In our locality, there are two excellent MSc programmes for ANPs but women's health is a small part of the training which aims to train and equip ANPs with the knowledge and skills to assess, diagnose and manage many presentations in primary care.