Resources for Health Professionals
How to gain experience in travel health / travel medicine for UK nurses
In the UK, the provision of travel health advice is largely a nurse-led service.
The main avenues into the field are as a practice nurse, or as a nurse working in a specialist travel health centre. Other related areas include infectious diseases, tropical nursing, occupational health and public health.
Working as a practice nurse can provide experience in travel medicine depending upon the volume of travellers seen in the practice. Being employed in a specialist travel clinic allows a nurse to work full-time in the field, however, these positions may be limited in number and may require previous experience or a qualification in travel health. Practice Nurse and Travel Health Nurse vacancies are usually advertised in the nursing press, e.g. Nursing Times, Nursing Standard and the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) jobs bulletin. It may also be beneficial to contact specialist travel health centres directly and register your interest by sending in a copy of your curriculum vitae.
Once you have secured a position in travel medicine or prior to entering the field, a number of courses exist for those who would like to undertake formal study. These range from one day introductory study days through to diploma and masters level courses.
Joining a travel health association can provide contact and support from other travel health practitioners. Associations in the UK include the British Travel Health Association (BTHA) and the RCN Travel Health Forum; the International Society of Travel Medicine (ISTM) represents travel medicine practitioners throughout the world. These organisations hold regular conferences and produce either a newsletter or journal for members.
The RCN have produced guidance for nursing staff working in travel health, entitled "RCN Competencies, an integrated career and competency framework for nurses in travel health medicine". The guidance can be downloaded at:
Other resources for health professionals working in travel health can be found on the NaTHNaC Website at: http://www.NaTHNaC.org/pro/factsheets/travel_health_advice.ht
Details of study days and conferences can be found on the NaTHNaC Website at http://www.NaTHNaC.org/pro/ConferencesStudyDays.htm, and on the Travax website (subscription required) at http://www.travax.nhs.uk
Travel Health Associations
British Travel Health Association: http://www.btha.org
Royal College of Nursing Travel Health Forum: http://www.rcn.org.uk/index.php
International Society of Travel Medicine: http://www.istm.org/