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Keywords:

  • sexual abuse;
  • sexuality;
  • unwanted sexual experiences;
  • nurse education

Unwanted sexual experiences reported by nursing students: implications for nurse education and training¶This study examined the nature and frequency of unwanted sexual experiences in childhood and adulthood reported by nursing students, using a questionnaire developed from the Sexual Events Questionnaire ( Calam & Slade). The questionnaire was distributed to 109 second-year nursing students (90 female and 19 male) for anonymous completion. At the same time a further short questionnaire asked students about their perceptions of the first questionnaire, and how far their course had, up to the present, included consideration of issues related to sexuality. A high level of unwanted sexual experiences was reported. For example: 49 (45·0%) reported having witnessed indecent exposure; 27 (24·8%) reported someone having ‘tried unsuccessfully to have sexual intercourse with you against you will’; 14 (12·8%) reported someone having ‘succeeded in having sexual intercourse with you against your will’. In the second questionnaire, 74·1% thought that consideration of human sexuality had so far been included in their course either ‘not at all’ or ‘a little’, with 19·4% responding ‘quite a lot’ or ‘very much’. It is argued that there is a particular need, for personal and professional reasons, for nursing students to have opportunities to address any unresolved effects of unwanted sexual experiences, and that within the formal curriculum there should be greater consideration of issues related to human sexuality.