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Clinical Nurse Specialist:
Feature Articles

Nursing Attitudes and Beliefs Toward Human Sexuality: Collaborative Research Promoting Evidence-Based Practice

REYNOLDS, KATHLEEN E. MSN, RN APRN-BC; MAGNAN, MORRIS A. PhD, RN

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Abstract

Purpose and Objectives: The purpose of this study was to use a collaborative process between Advanced Practice Nurses and a nurse researcher to identify barriers to incorporating sexuality assessment and counseling into nursing practice.

Design/Approach: This article provides an historical account of the collaborative group processes leading to the development and testing of the Sexuality Attitudes and Beliefs Survey (SABS).

Background/Rationale: Nurses often are called upon to talk to patients about their sexuality and sexual concerns. Many nurses believe that sexuality assessment, evaluation, and counseling is a part of their professional role, however, nurses do not necessarily integrate this awareness into their patient care. Discomfort, embarrassment, or strongly held attitudes about the nurse's role in discussing sexuality with patients can act as barriers to responding to these patient concerns.

Setting: A Midwestern urban healthcare facility, affiliated with a university served as the setting.

Sample: Thirty-five nurses working outpatient and inpatient settings in oncology and HIV/AIDS.

Method: Instrument development and voluntary survey.

Outcomes: The collaborative initiative developed and piloted an instrument to measure nurses' attitudes and beliefs about human sexuality. Results of the pilot study suggest that what nurses believe patients expect from them, time availability, and confidence in one's ability to address issues related to human sexuality present significant barriers to incorporating sexuality assessment and counseling into nursing practice.

Conclusion: Successful collaboration among clinicians and researchers required administrative support as well as a individual commitment and is a model that can be adapted to other settings and for other projects.

Implications for Practice: This study highlights the benefits of collaboration between clinicians and researchers to support evidenced based practice. The findings from this study will be used to develop strategies for removing barriers to sexuality assessment by nurses.

© 2005 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.

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