Resources for Educators

Find the tools you need to incorporate sexual and reproductive health and abortion care into your nursing curriculum.

Options Counseling Nursing Education Module

January, 20 2017

Options Counseling in Unintended Pregnancy and Prevention Care

options counseling nursing education patient photoAs nurses, we are witness to some of the most vulnerable and life-changing moments in a patient’s life. Sometimes we are invited to participate in life-changing discussions and decision-making when a patient asks for information about a treatment option. Often, we can answer with facts and figures about quantifiable outcome measures: this medication works X% of the time or this procedure results in an X% cure rate. But when a patient is unsure about an unintended pregnancy, facts and figures lose their impact because the decision at its core is emotional.

This module uses realistic patient scenarios as the framework for facilitating patient-centered, non-directive options counseling on parenting, abortion and adoption.

How to Use This Module 

This Nursing Education Curriculum is designed for a flipped classroom model to incorporate unintended pregnancy prevention and care into existing curricula.

Students—Click the student tab and complete the pre-assessment. You may have received a site code from your instructor which you may enter within the pre-assessment. Definitions and Orienting Facts provide context for the Patient Situations, which are clinical scenarios designed to raise critical issues and questions to put unintended pregnancy prevention and care in the context of Professional Ethics. Students should complete the Required Reading at any time while going through the Patient Situations. Please complete the post-assessment after finishing the module.

Faculty—Open the faculty tab below to access teaching tips, exercises, and handouts for incorporating module content into the classroom, and to learn more about obtaining a “site code” to download and access students’ pre- and post-assessment data.

Learning Objectives

  • Apply patient centered care concepts in delivering pregnancy test results.
  • Describe three available options for an unintended pregnancy.
  • Demonstrate non-directive, patient-centered options counseling techniques.
  • Identify available resources to assist patients with their decision-making.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of community-based resources for prenatal care, adoption services and abortion care.

Relevant UPPC Essential Competencies

Through a national Delphi study, Essential Competencies in Unintended Pregnancy Prevention and Care for Nursing Education (Hewitt, C. and Cappiello, J., 2015) 85 nursing experts in unintended pregnancy prevention and care reached consensus on 27 core educational competencies for nursing education which provide a framework for curricular development in an important area of nursing education. The following competencies are relevant to this nursing education module.

  1. Demonstrate the ability to provide unintended pregnancy prevention and care that is free of evidence of bias and judgment.
  2. Demonstrate ability to recognize unique reproductive health needs of women from vulnerable and special populations (e.g. adolescents, women with mental or physical disabilities, survivors of violence) affected by many factors (e.g. relationship status, sexual orientation).
  3. Demonstrate knowledge of types of induced abortion methods, including risks and benefits, which are legally available in the U.S.
  4. Demonstrate knowledge of state and local adoption options and resources and applicable regulatory laws and statutes.
  5. Demonstrate proficiency in providing client‐centered pregnancy options counseling including parenting, adoption and abortion.
  6. Demonstrate proficiency in providing pregnancy test results in patient-centered manner.
  7. Demonstrate proficiency in using essential counseling techniques (e.g. motivational interviewing, shared decision making and patient engagement) in provision of unintended pregnancy prevention and care.
  8. Demonstrate proficiency in effective communication skills that encompasses respect for of culture, sexual orientation and gender identity.
  9. Demonstrate ability to make appropriate referrals to community‐based prenatal care providers and resources.
  10. Demonstrate proficiency in referring clients with unintended pregnancy to area providers and support services.
  11. Demonstrate ability to confirm pregnancy and determine gestation age.



Since over half of the pregnancies in the United States are unintended, it is likely nurses will encounter a woman with an unintended pregnancy. Providing non-directive, patient-centered options counseling is an essential component to quality care. This module provides tools, exercises and resources for learners to improve their skills and confront their values related to unintended pregnancy prevention and care.

These modules are designed to use with a flipped classroom model in which students are directed to complete the module as homework, including the Pre- and Post-Assessments. Once students have completed the module in its entirety, including the recommended reading, faculty can use the Teaching Tips document and materials from the Classroom Exercises section below to integrate concepts from the module into the classroom or group setting.

Teaching Tips

Options Counseling Teaching Tips

Classroom Exercises

Sexual History Taking Role Play

This worksheet includes questions to ask when taking a sexual history, specifically when working with LGBTQ patients.

The Abortion Option: A Values Clarification Guide for Health Care Professionals

These exercises from the National Abortion Federation include tools that can be used in class for clarifying values related to abortion and discussing the role of health care providers.

Acessing Student Pre- and Post-Assessment Data

Pre- and post-assessments are designed to measure students’ satisfaction with the module as well as what they have learned. To be able to complete the assessments students will need to enter a “site code” prior to working through the online module. Faculty will use this site code to download and review students’ pre- and post-assessment data. To obtain a site code your institution must e-mail In the text of the email, please include your name (as instructor), the name of the institution, and the module(s) for which you would like to access data. RhN will send you 1) a site code for your students to enter at the beginning of the assessment, 2) a web link to access the results from each module, and 3) an “answer key” to help grade your students’ responses. You may also assign a unique student code to each student that you would like to assess on an individual basis. Students must enter the correct site code for faculty to be able to access their data.