2019 Clinical Intervention

Marilyn Henderson, BSN, RN, SRAS

On June 8th, Medical Institute will present our 2019 Clinical Intervention for Optimal Sexual Health workshop in Austin, Texas.  Our program was revised in 2017 and is open to anyone who works with adolescents and wants a better understanding of how caring adults can help change the behavior of sexually active adolescents and guide them toward optimal sexual health. It is now approved for 7.0 contact hours for Continuing Nursing Education for RNs and for Texas Social Workers continuing education.

Is there any reason to believe that sexually active teens may want to change their behavior? Yes! In a 2014 survey, of those 15-19 year-olds, both male and female, who have had sex, 55% say they wish they had waited longer.1 That is more than half who would like a “do over”. If we focus on just the females the percentage is even higher. Sixty-seven percent of the women wished they had waited longer before having sex.

Our young people need to know that even after they have “crossed the line” and have started having sex, they do not need to continue in a sexually active lifestyle. They need caring adults who will speak truth into their lives and give them concrete advice about how to turn back to a risk avoidance lifestyle that will allow them to enjoy their teen years without the risk of unplanned pregnancy and STIs and the emotional consequences of sexual involvement.

As a nurse, I see the opportunity that nurses and nurse practitioners have to make a difference in the lives of teens in the realm of sexual health. Let’s start with the middle school and high school nurses. Although much of their time is spent working with vaccination compliance, they are in a unique position to encounter students one-on-one with their sexual questions and issues. The school nurse may be the one who directs newly sexually active teens to help. Will she simply send the students to a Planned Parenthood clinic for birth control and STI testing? What other community resources is she familiar with? What is her training or her indoctrination?

The Clinical Intervention training begins with an explanation of the risks and consequences of teen sexual behavior. The facts are clear, all teenage sexual behavior is risky behavior. Many nurses have simply not been educated about the risks involved beyond unplanned pregnancy, including the increasing problems of STIs in teens and issues with early sexual brain patterning and emotional trauma.

Once we have established the risks of teen sexual behavior, we present two approaches to addressing those risks: sexual risk reduction and sexual risk avoidance. As nurses, we need to be well acquainted with methods used to reduce the risks, including their strengths and weaknesses. We also need to be aware that optimum sexual health is achieved through risk avoidance.

Using a combination of the Transtheoretical Model of Behavioral Change and the Nursing Process, nurses and other caring adults can help guide sexually active teens toward the gold standard of sexual risk avoidance. In our Clinical Intervention training, we walk through each stage in the process of change with relevant examples and practice scenarios. By the end of the training day, participants can identify what stage of change a particular client or patient is currently in. Once that stage is identified, a trained adult can use conversation, literature, media and even referrals to help move that patient toward the next stage of change and ultimately to a sexual risk avoidance lifestyle.

In 2018 Medical Institute identified two main barriers to school nurses attending our Clinical Intervention for Optimal Sexual Health workshops. The first barrier was financial. The second barrier was not having personal knowledge of the seminar or Medical Institute.

You, our readers, can help remove these barriers. Would you like for your school nurse or school counselor to attend the Clinical Intervention training? How about your family nurse practitioner or a nurse in your family physician’s office? I would love for you to “introduce” them to me via phone, email or text. Perhaps you would be willing to sponsor someone to attend a training with a full or partial scholarship. We would love to hear from you!

For more information about the Transtheoretical Model of Change, see our articles under Free Materials on our website. Click here for the first article.

For more information about our Clinical Intervention for Optimal Sexual Health workshop, click here.


  1. *The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, “Virgin Territory: What Young Adults Say About Sex, Love, Relationships, and The First Time.”

This survey is no longer available online. The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy is now “Power to Decide” and we could not locate the survey on the new website. However, in 2014, Medical Institute summarized this survey and you can find our summary at: https://www.medinstitute.org/2015/06/virginity-revisited/


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