Delivered by leading experts in the field, the online Professional Certificate of Women’s Health equips medical professionals with a comprehensive understanding of women’s health issues commonly seen in primary care. Exploring medical conditions and concerns pertinent to female patients, the certificate course will enable you to provide high-demand services and better meet your patients’ needs.
The Professional Certificate course builds on the knowledge acquired in the Foundation Certificate of Women’s Health and covers further women’s health conditions commonly encountered in primary care, including family planning, breastfeeding, menopause, and domestic abuse.
This course is the follow-on course from the Foundation Certificate of Women’s Health and is the first stage of the Professional Diploma of Women's Health. The education pathway is: Foundation Certificate of Women’s Health, Professional Certificate of Women's Health, Advanced Certificate of Women's Health, and Professional Diploma of Women's Health. You might also be interested in the Advanced Workshop of Intrauterine Systems.
The Professional Certificate of Women's Health is tailored for medical doctors who wish to improve patient outcomes by managing common women's health issues in general practice. This qualification is stage one of the Professional Diploma of Women’s Health.
The courses are suitable for physicians and degree-qualified medical practitioners, including registered nurses. Participants must have completed the Foundation Certificate of Women’s Health.
Participants do not have to pass an IELTS test but, as the courses are delivered in English, proficiency in listening, reading and writing English is assumed.
Participants will require access to a computer/laptop, an internet connection and a basic level of technology proficiency to access and navigate the online learning portal.
Further professionally recognised qualifications and prior studies may be recognised for entry into this course if the learning outcomes match exactly. Please ask a HealthCert Education Advisor for an individual assessment of your prior qualifications and experience.
*These modules are completed in the Sonic Healthcare Foundation Certificate of Women's Health and recognised for RPL in this Professional Certificate course.
Course participants will:
Module 1: Cervical screening
Unit One: Sexually Transmitted Infections
This unit identifies several sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and other conditions that may not fall under that classification but are associated with sexual activity. It outlines common features and symptoms, routes of transmission, key risk factors for infection, and the prevalence of infection among various demographics and regions. The unit emphasizes the importance of early recognition, diagnosis, and treatment of STIs by detailing the natural progression of each condition if left untreated. Comprehensive information about tools and procedures for screening, examinations and testing that may be used to detect STIs in individual patients are covered, together with detailed treatment plans. Contact tracing, notification of proper authorities if applicable, and opportunistic counselling of patients about options for the prevention of STIs are included.
Unit Two: Cervical Screening
This unit begins with a thorough explanation of the anatomy and functions of the cervix and identifies underlying causes and risk factors for cervical health issues including HPV, cervical dysplasia, cervical dysplasia and cervical cancer. It covers indications for further investigation and offers information about cervical cancer and HPV, including updates about presenting symptoms, risk factors, and potential impacts. This unit summarizes the history and impact of cervical screening programs in Australia and acknowledges key differences in the current National Cervical Screening Program (NCSP). It offers comprehensive information about current Cervical Screening Tests, focusing on ethical considerations related to patient experience and consent, Possible results of these tests are discussed before counseling physicians on the appropriate procedures to follow in different scenarios. Important updates in administrative processes, terminology for reporting and models for cervical screening results pathways are explained. In conclusion, the unit reviews the inherent limitations of these tests and emphasizes their role as one part of the diagnostic process.
Module 2: Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
This module examines the prevalence, presenting symptoms, contributing factors and underlying problems associated with PCOS. Common features, risk factors and indications for further investigation to diagnose this condition are outlined. The module offers a framework for applying the diagnostic criteria for PCOS including presenting symptoms, specific criteria for diagnosis and the process for eliminating other potential causes and conditions to optimize the health of women undergoing treatment for PCOS. Tools and resources for screening and management of the condition are also included. The module concludes by outlining symptoms of complications to look for and provides instructions for detection and management of these symptoms.
Module 3: Pregnancy
This module describes guidelines to optimize maternal and foetal health throughout each stage of an uncomplicated pregnancy and creates a detailed model for routine screenings and counseling throughout the timeline of pregnancy. It outlines the three stages of pregnancy care: preconception care, antenatal care and postnatal care. Considerations and procedures for screening are detailed for each stage including counseling, and other factors to discuss or monitor with individual cases. After outlining a typical regimen for routine screenings and indications for further investigation or monitoring, it discusses different options and approaches for treatment and the criteria for optimal decisions about care for individual patients at each stage. Finally, the module identifies several common symptoms and complications during the antenatal and postnatal stage of pregnancy and considers risk factors, typical presentation, potential maternal and foetal impact, and both pharmacological and non-pharmacological methods for the management of specific conditions.
Module 4: Menopause
This module gives comprehensive information about the definitions, features and underlying causes of menopause and discusses the typical process and duration for each of the four stages: perimenopausal, menopausal, early postmenopausal and late postmenopausal. Methods for assessment and differential diagnosis of menopausal symptoms are outlined, including indications for further investigation. Four management options are addressed: lifestyle modifications, “natural” or complementary therapies, non-hormone pharmaceutical options and menopause hormone therapy (MHT). It covers existing research for complementary therapies and identifies potential benefits and limitations. Different types of MHT are reviewed including potential benefits and risks, safety considerations, and testing methods based on current evidence. It also acknowledges potential contraindications for MHT and statistics that suggest a lack of observable effectiveness in treating certain health conditions. In conclusion, the module outlines effective courses of action for adjusting treatment and managing complications.
Module 5: Menstrual Irregularities
This module defines the common menstrual problems of abnormal menstrual bleeding, dysmenorrhea and premenstrual dysphoria and includes classification systems, diagnostic criteria, and clinical guidelines for management and treatment for each condition. It offers resources and guidance for clinicians in treating individual women who present with associated symptoms or meet the diagnostic criteria for these disorders. Each condition is broken down to subdivisions and outlines specific guidelines and aims of treatment for each case. The module provides information about screening tools, indications for additional investigation, and which examinations are recommended for diagnosis of each condition. Finally, the module discusses prevalence, common symptoms, and potential patient impacts, and details treatment options along with advice and supporting evidence for the effectiveness of each treatment approach.
Module 6: Family Planning
This module discusses the uses, effectiveness, and available options for contraception and expands on the role of general practitioners in this area of healthcare. It creates a detailed framework for making decisions about contraceptives. How to counsel patients about contraceptive options, recommended examinations, information gathering, patient preferences and other factors to consider as part of this process are outlined. The module then describes multiple options for contraception, comparing them to one another in terms of efficacy, delay in return to fertility and STI protection. Referring the MEC guidelines, it delineates precautions and contradictions to consider when determining the suitability of contraceptive methods for individual patients. It distinguishes between combined hormone contraceptives and progesterone-only pills and expands on the risks, side effects, benefits, contraindications, and implementation procedures for each approach. Finally, the module provides guidance for contraception at menopause and emergency contraception, including risks and special considerations for each case.
Module 7: Breastfeeding
The module offers a broad definition of “normal” breastfeeding and considers the factors that make up healthy breastfeeding practices. It assesses the role of general practitioners in supporting women to continue to breastfeed. It examines evidence of the benefits of breastfeeding for mother and child, current rates for breastfeeding, and influences on breastfeeding practices. Furthermore, the module offers detailed information about breast anatomy, changes during and after pregnancy, the physiology of lactation including processes that activate lactation, and the practices that allow the cycle of breastfeeding to continue. It acknowledges risk factors and common problems associated with the breastfeeding cycle. In addition to listing indications for assessing the adequacy of milk intake and clarifying misunderstandings about signs of inadequate milk intake, the module offers recommendations for maternal lifestyle to ensure optimal breastfeeding conditions. Finally, it advises physicians on the recognition and management of common breastfeeding complications and discusses indications for supplementation and weaning.
Module 8: Domestic abuse
This module reviews the definition and support mechanisms when patients present who are in a domestic abuse relationship. Statistics related to its prevalence and impact both worldwide and in Australia are listed. It discusses the role of general practitioners in responding, supporting and treating women who disclose experiences of domestic violence in a supportive, non-judgmental manner. The module covers signs and symptoms for identification of domestic violence including psychological and behavioural symptoms. Screening information is a key tool in addition to understanding reasons why a woman does not find it easy to leave an abusive relationship. Techniques to provide a safe environment and how to respond to disclosures including follow up care and responsibilities are addressed. Finally, it gives advice about the most effective response to patient disclosure both immediately and as part of a long-term plan for follow up and continuing care, including information about available resources and support services.
A/Prof Debbie Kors
MBBS (first class honours)
General practitioner and GP supervisor
Associate Professor Debbie Kors is the founder and joint owner of a private teaching general practice in Port Macquarie, Australia. She works there as a general practitioner and GP supervisor of GP registrars and medical students.
A/Prof Kors is a passionate advocate for the profession of general practice. She is a Conjoint Associate Professor in Primary Health Care at the UNSW Rural Clinical School, Port Macquarie campus and has previously worked as a senior medical educator with North Coast GP Training. In 2010, she was nominated for and won the General Practice Education and Training GP Supervisor of the Year award.
A/Prof Kors holds a MBBS (first class honours), Fellowship of the RACGP, Masters of Family Medicine (clinical), Diploma of the Royal Australian College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, Graduate Diploma of Medical Education and a Certificate of Family Planning.
Dr Christine Ahern
MBBS and FRACGP
Senior lecturer at Sydney University
Dr Christine Ahern has worked as a general practitioner in rural NSW since 1983, often with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Her special interests include women’s health and education.
Dr Ahern is a senior lecturer at Sydney University and has previously been the Director of Training for North Coast GP Training. In 2011 she was named the General Practice Education and Training Medical Educator of the Year, a prestigious national award. Dr Ahern holds a MBBS and FRACGP.
Dr Kate Moriarty
Bachelor of Medicine (honours), Fellowship of the RACGP and a Diploma in Child Health.
Dr Kate Moriarty works in private general practice in Port Macquarie, Australia, where she is also a supervisor of GP registrars and of medical students. She is a senior lecturer for UNSW Rural Clinical School, Port Macquarie campus. She has special interests in women’s health and medical education.
She holds a Bachelor of Medicine (honours), Fellowship of the RACGP and a Diploma in Child Health.
Dr Sharon Sykes
MBBS, Bachelor of Applied Science (Med Lab Sci) and a Fellowship of the RACGP
Dr Sharon Sykes works in private general practice in Port Macquarie, Australia where she is also a supervisor of GP registrars and of medical students. Dr Sykes served 18 years in the Royal Australian Air Force before becoming a general practitioner. She has a special interest in medical education and has previously worked as a medical educator for North Coast GP Training.
She holds a MBBS, Bachelor of Applied Science (Med Lab Sci) and a Fellowship of the RACGP.
The Professional Certificate of Women's Health is fully delivered online. Participants can enjoy the flexibility to study at their own pace, in their own time, within their home or office, and on their favourite mobile device. The modules are set up in such a way that participants are not required to be online at specific times but can view and replay the video lectures at their convenience.
The webinars offer the opportunity to join and interact with the presenters online in real-time but can also be viewed later. There are no face-to-face requirements for exams which can be conveniently completed online within three months of the exam opening date. With no travel, accommodation or out-of-office expenses incurred, participants can build critical skills and tailor their career while working in a busy practice or raising a family.
There are eight units in a HealthCert certificate course, which include online presentations from experts in the field followed by patient case discussions and decision-making. There is a final webinar prior to examinations. You will also receive valuable 12 months' web-based support from the speakers and participate in regular online learning sessions with the opportunity to ask any questions you might have as you implement your learning.
The course includes:
In order to meet the requirements of professional and academic learning, the course assessment includes a professional requirement and two online examinations.
The knowledge-based examination is worth 50 per cent and the application-based examination is worth 50 per cent. The overall pass mark is 80 per cent. It is therefore not possible to pass this course on knowledge alone. Knowledge must be successfully applied to patient cases in order to pass the course.HealthCert recommends completion of the assessment at your convenience within three months of the completion of the course (or enrolling in the online course).
Upon successful completion of the exam, course participants will receive a Professional Certificate of Women's Health.
RACGP CPD Accredited Activity 40 Points
- PDP units: 24 Educational activity, 25 Performance review
- MOPs points: 6 O&G
- Procedural Training Grants for Obstetrics
This professional certificate:
This online three-part program consists of the Professional Certificate, Advanced Certificate, and Professional Diploma of Women's Health.
Certified clinical attachments pathway
Course graduates may continue their professional development by completing a clinical attachment, which are available on request. These will be on a 1:1 basis providing the opportunity to observe clinical nutrition consultation, planning and decision-making and ask questions of the expert. Clinical attachments are available in Australia.
Postgraduate pathway for women's health
A postgraduate pathway is currently being identified. Please check with HealthCert Education Advisors for an update.