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Barriers to Addressing Patient Sexuality Concerns Across Five Areas of Specialization

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

Feature Articles

Purpose and Objectives: The aim of this study was to examine the barriers to addressing patient sexuality across areas of specialization.

Design: A descriptive correlational design was used in this study.

Sample and Setting: A convenience sample of nurses (N = 302) was recruited from a large Midwestern medical center.

Method: In this study, a survey using the Sexuality Attitudes and Beliefs Survey and a demographic questionnaire was conducted.

Findings: The number one barrier to addressing patient sexuality concerns across all areas of specialization was the nurses' perceptions that patients do not expect nurses to address their sexuality concerns. Other high-ranking barriers included a lack of comfort and confidence in addressing sexuality and failure to make time to discuss patient sexuality concerns.

Implications for Practice: Educational programs with both general and specific content are needed to help nurses across areas of specialization overcome barriers to addressing patient sexuality concerns. In addition, clinical nurse specialists are challenged to think of ways in which their practice competencies might be used creatively to overcome barriers to addressing patient sexuality concerns and promote the sexual health of individuals and groups.

Conclusions: Furtherresearch is needed to determine whether the assumption that patients do not expect nurses to address sexuality concerns matches the reality of patients' expectations.

From the School of Nursing, Oakland University, Rochester, Mich (Dr Magnan); and Karmanos Cancer Center, Detroit, Mich (Ms Reynolds).

Corresponding author: Morris A. Magnan, PhD, RN, School of Nursing, Oakland University, Rochester, MI 48309 (e-mail: magnan@oakland.edu).

© 2006 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.