Journal of Sexual & Reproductive Medicine

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Oncology nurses views on the provision of sexual health in cancer care

Author(s): Lorna Butler* and Valerie Banfield

OBJECTIVE: To describe the current sexuality-related nursing practice of oncology nurses. DESIGN: Self-report survey to examine the practice of sexual health with a purposive sample of nurses working in cancer care. SETTING: Six nursing units within a large tertiary care centre were used to recruit study participants. The units included ambulatory care, medical oncology and surgical oncology. PATIENTS: Surveys were delivered to 155 oncology-registered nurses working on the identified nursing units. A response rate of 48% was achieved. RESULTS: The overall scale score (M=103.27) suggests that the oncology nurses who responded to the survey perceived sexuality to be a part of their nursing practice. While the majority of the subscale scores were above the midline, practice was slightly below. CONCLUSIONS: The oncology nurses who participated in the study were somewhat confident, responsible and valued sexuality; however, the delivery of care did not reflect those attributes. Issues raised by the oncology nurses are not limited to this discipline but have broad implications for the delivery of health care.

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