Sexual Health and Well-being

Volunteer Learning Experiences

Working as a volunteer sexual health counsellor has helped me learn a lot. Engaging different resources have helped me gain a deeper understanding of sexual health and well-being. I learned from the world health organization that sexual health refers to well-being on a mental, emotional, physical and social aspect regarding sexuality. I also discovered that it is not limited to the absence of infirmity, dysfunction, or disease. Further I discovered, it takes on a respectful and positive approach to sexual relationships and sexuality to facilitate safe and pleasurable sexual experiences. Often, the perception I had about sexual health had been skewed and thin that could not help handle victims who may have challenges related to this topic, however, this changed through the participation in the volunteer. Besides I learnt that Sexual health revolves around sexuality, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, body image, sexual and reproductive healthcare, reproductive and sexual health anatomy, pleasure, relationships and intimacy, consent, and boundaries, among other sexual activities. However, it goes beyond and touches on the effects that one gets if he/she does not understand how they can handle themselves during sexual intercourse. In addition, I discovered there are circumstances when individuals get into trouble due to diseases and unexpected pregnancies, and sexually transmitted infections. They find themselves in a situation such that they regret their acts which can be linked to a lack of knowledge.

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Benefits of the Experience for Sexual Health and Well-being as a Student Nurse

Learning as a volunteer has a great advantage to me as a student nurses as it allows me to engage in practical activities to become better professionals. By collecting statistics on matters regarding sexual health, the government can come up with programs that are tailored to suit the needs of particular communities. As a student I can participate in making policies that are important in helping the community become much better. Such programs improve the sexual well-being of the community in question. The questions help understand the kind of problems faced and develop a framework to solve them. Reproductive healthcare promotes women's safety through pregnancy by protecting the well-being of pregnant women and their unborn children. Sexual health education also enables to create preventative programs for sex-related problems and diseases. It enables me guide people to use protection when partaking in intercourse, thus reducing sexually transmitted infections and unplanned pregnancies.

Participating in HIV/AIDS prevention and management programs, I enable communities gain valuable knowledge that protects the people living with AIDS against stigmatization while educating them on preventative measures against the disease. Diseases such as HIV/AIDS generally affect the community by rendering the victims unable to work or by causing deaths. Sexual health reduces the spread and makes it possible to manage these diseases, thus protecting the communities. It becomes a significant undertaking as HIV/AIDS is one of the diseases that affect most individuals in the community due to lack of proper knowledge. It is helpful to the community and as a student nurse as the effect is felt across.

Through education programs on sexual health, as a student nurse, I can gain awareness on how to advise people about their sexual behaviour and intimacy. Most people do not understand the impact that sexual behaviours can have on their lives and health. For instance, sex education for teenagers helps reduce the rate of teenage pregnancy and STI transmission. If they could not be educated, nurses could have more patients to attend to as they would be affected by sexually transmitted diseases. An understanding of consent protects the members of a community from sexual violence and encourages healthy sexual habits. Therefore, as a student nurse, I contribute to an essential course in the community that could have been difficult to undertake if not for the volunteering opportunity.

As a student nurse, I learn how to develop victim protection programs that could help different people who have been affected by sexual abuse. Victim-protection programs provide a shoulder for sexual abuse victims to lean on by granting them access assistance through therapy and counselling. Sexual health education allows me to understand the rights of the LGBTQ community and also caters to the aspects of their health that are specific to their sexual orientations (McDaid et al., 2021). Sexual health education informs me various solutions to sexual dysfunctions and body image issues, helps the members of specific communities experiencing such challenges to regain their sexual esteem, thus promoting pleasurable sexual activity. It is an undertaking that will not only help me in the career practice. Being equipped with such skills will assist adapt quickly in work practice.

When engaging people on issues related to sexual health and well-being, I develop interpersonal skills, emotional intelligence, and empathy. It allows me increase dialogue on specific problems that affect communities, such as unplanned pregnancy and sexual violence, thus improving the effectiveness of health programs put in place to combat such challenges. Through this, I develop into a complete professional who understands various factors that affect people in the community. However, the best and most important thing is developing skills that will help me be a better professional. Since the topic and issues related to sexual health and well-being are not seriously given concern, it makes a student get to know areas and approaches that can be used to ensure messages are well passed.

Importance of the New Knowledge

There are many areas that I need to learn as a student nurse, therefore, my focus is to ensure that I get wider knowledge that will enable me become a better professional. First, I want to understand all the different disciplines of human services so as to improve individual’s lives and giving them a fresh start. The services I want to have an understanding involve disciplines and professions whose primary function is to alleviate people's suffering and improve their livelihoods. Such disciplines and professions include nurses, counsellors, marriage therapists, child life specialists, psychologists, licensed clinical social workers, case management workers, child advocates, community outreach workers, and behavioural management aides. They are essential skills that would improve my professionalism and performance at work.

Another critical aspect of the knowledge I would want to develop is understanding and defining various problems and present solutions. For example, the issue of teen pregnancy and the spread of sexually transmitted infections is the challenge that is experienced globally. This an area that I want to participate and help in curbing the number of cases. To help combat this issue I would join the government, individual volunteers, and non-governmental bodies who offer human services in ensuring their goal is achieved. I would want to learn how to mobilise expert from various disciplines to assist in finding a solution of the problem through educating teenagers on responsible sexual behaviours and the consequences of irresponsible sexual interactions, both in schools and communities (Dongarwar & Salihu 2019). Another area I could want to develop is how to collaborate with community outreach workers to ensure preventative steps are acheived by introducing educative seminars and sessions that focus on sexual health and the consequences of unprotected sex. This measure would come in handy as many teenage pregnancies and STIs are caused by the lack of knowledge on safe sex practices. Educating them on contraceptives and condoms when partaking in sexual intercourse or overall abstinence would help curb the issue. Having deep understanding of the disciplines would help me bring the necessary solutions and try to see the best ways they could impact different people.

Developing counselling skills is another target area that could help me undertaking community work. Still, it could also be a way of knowing how to deal with patients—counselling on contraceptive use and delivering contraceptives to the teenagers who are already sexually active. It could be a way I influence human service providers to guide teenagers on the various types of contraceptives and how they can prevent pregnancy. I will seek also to determine whether counselling is an effective approach for teenagers cannot afford effective contraceptives or are too embarrassed to seek such services. As a nurse student it becomes necessary to understand various aspects of human services to be an all-round person.

Implementation Activities

Achieving my mission of gaining more knowledge about human services I could first participate in developing community social development programs especially those aimed to curb the issue of teen pregnancies and STIs spread. I will learn how social development programs target the equipment of adolescents with psychological and social skills that strengthen their attachment to educational aspirations and reduce their likelihood to partake in high-risk behaviour. Also, I will seek to understand high-risk behaviours like alcohol and substance abuse or counter-productive behaviour that often results in irresponsible sexual behaviour. I will try to participate in programs which are in such a way that, in the end, they address specific problems that can directly be related to different groups in the community. For example, social development programs for adults may not be similar for adolescents.

I will also try to carry out biomedical interventions that could prevent sexually transmitted infections could effectively prevent the spread of STIs. Such interventions include the use of microbicides and male circumcision. Undertaking this would help reduce pathogens for sexually transmitted diseases, such as the human papillomavirus and hepatitis A and B viruses, have vaccines that offer protection to individuals in case of exposure. I will also advocate for provision of vaccines could reduce the rate of disease spread (Morales et al., 2018). However, it could be important to ensure that various alternative methods are put in place when undertaking such actions. Since the technique is a curable action, it occurs when the damage has already happened. This means that it may not be the best. It would be the best method for the victims who are already affected to help and address their problems.

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Another approach that could help implementing and succeeding in gaining new knowledge is implementation of poverty-eradication programs that help reduce the spread of sexually transmitted infections and STIs. Some teenage sexual activity is often attributed to poverty, where the individuals in question use sex as an income source. Poverty eradication programs such as care package provision and free self-help initiatives could help individuals attain stability hence alleviating the need for sexual interaction for money. Eradication of poverty means that people are independent and can make decisions that are best for their well-being.

References

Dongarwar, D., & Salihu, H. M. (2019). Influence of sexual and reproductive health literacy on single and recurrent adolescent pregnancy in Latin America. Journal of pediatric and adolescent gynecology, 32(5), 506-513.

McDaid, L., Flowers, P., Ferlatte, O., Young, I., Patterson, S., & Gilbert, M. (2021). Sexual health literacy among gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men: a conceptual framework for future research. Culture, health & sexuality, 23(2), 207-223.

Morales, A., Espada, J. P., Orgilés, M., Escribano, S., Johnson, B. T., & Lightfoot, M. (2018). Interventions to reduce risk for sexually transmitted infections in adolescents: A meta-analysis of trials, 2008-2016. PloS one, 13(6), e0199421.


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