Guest Post: Holly Carpenter, RN, CNM Candidate, UCSF
Both APC and pre-licensure nursing students still face a fairly bleak picture in terms of standard SRH training and education. In conversations with nursing and medical students at UCSF, I found a shared sentiment of disappointment in this educational gap. Nursing students at all levels are eager for more training and education in sexual and reproductive health – specifically focused on abortion. To meet these demands, a first year medical student and I designed a noontime interprofessional elective entitled “Family Planning and Reproductive Choice”, to which we invited guest speakers who covered a wide range of SRH-related topics, including:
- options counseling
- values clarification
- IUD insertion
- clinical aspects of abortion with a papaya workshop (www.papayaworkshop.org)
- public health aspects of abortion
- the personal experience of abortion hosted by Exhale (After Abortion Talkline)
Student reception was overwhelmingly positive, and we had packed classrooms throughout the quarter. Over the next few months, it became clear that nursing students from around the country are clamoring for this training. In collaboration with an incredible, interdisciplinary group of nursing educators and innovators, I’m currently in the process of creating and disseminated the elective as a nationally applicable curriculum. We are planning to implement the first pilots at Oregon Health and Sciences University, Yale University, the University of New Mexico, and the University of Pennsylvania, among others.
The elective materials and curricular resources will be added to the Nursing Students for Sexual and Reproductive Health (formerly Nursing Students for Choice) website. Through the efforts of dedicated grassroots nursing student activists at these campuses, we hope to demonstrate to faculty and administrators that we strongly believe this content needs to be included in our standard curriculum, not just to satisfy our own interests, but to prepare us to be competitive entrants to the nursing workforce, provide access to high quality sexual and reproductive health care to our patients, and normalize abortion care within the full spectrum of nursing scope of practice.