Identification of barriers to sexual health assessment in oncology nursing practice Journal Article


Authors: Julien, J. O.; Thom, B.; Kline, N. E.
Article Title: Identification of barriers to sexual health assessment in oncology nursing practice
Abstract: PURPOSE/OBJECTIVES: To explore oncology nurses' attitudes about and knowledge of sexual health. Sexual health is an integral component of quality of life, which is an Oncology Nursing Society research priority. DESIGN: A descriptive, cross-sectional design. SETTING: A National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center in the northeastern United States. SAMPLE: A convenience sample of 576 RNs working in acute care, ambulatory, and perioperative services were approached during an annual mandatory training day. METHODS: Attitudes and beliefs about patients' sexual health assessment in nursing practice were evaluated with the Sexual Attitudes and Beliefs Survey and 10 demographic questions. MAIN RESEARCH VARIABLES: Oncology nurses' attitudes and beliefs regarding sexual health assessment of patients. FINDINGS: A statistically significant difference was found in scores based on age and nursing experience, whereby younger and less experienced nurses had higher scores, indicating greater discomfort in discussing sexual health with patients. Statistical significance also was found in scores based on oncology certification and practice setting, whereby oncology certified nurses and outpatient nurses identified fewer attitudinal barriers than noncertified nurses and nurses working in the inpatient setting. CONCLUSIONS: The results suggest that this patient population may not be receiving a complete sexual health assessment. IMPLICATIONS FOR NURSING: Nurses in the sample believed that sexuality was not too private an issue to discuss with their patients and claimed to understand how disease and treatment may affect patients' sexuality. Nurses also believed that their patients should not expect nurses to ask about their sexual concerns and often defer to the physician for any sexually related questions.
Keywords: adult; middle aged; anamnesis; united states; methodology; oncology nursing; oncologic nursing; attitude to health; age factors; age; questionnaires; questionnaire; psychological aspect; cancer center; sexuality; education; clinical competence; cancer care facilities; attitude of health personnel; nursing assessment; nursing staff, hospital; cross-sectional study; cross-sectional studies; health knowledge, attitudes, practice; fear; analysis of variance; certification; nurse attitude; health personnel attitude; nurse's role; nursing staff; nursing methodology research; privacy; shame; medical history taking; new england
Journal Title: Oncology Nursing Forum
Volume: 37
Issue: 3
ISSN: 0190-535X
Publisher: Oncology Nursing Society (ONS)  
Date Published: 2010-05-01
Start Page: E186
End Page: E190
Language: English
DOI: 10.1188/10.onf.e186-e190
PUBMED: 20439204
PROVIDER: scopus
DOI/URL:
Notes: --- - "Export Date: 20 April 2011" - "Source: Scopus"
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  1. Nancy Kline
    24 Kline
  2. Bridgette Thom
    61 Thom