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Sexuality: The challenge to espoused holistic care

Authors

  • Agnes Higgins RPN RGN BNS MSc,

    Corresponding author
    1. PhD Student/Health Research Board Fellow, School of Nursing and Midwifery Studies, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
      Agnes Higgins, School of Nursing and Midwifery Studies, Trinity College Dublin, 24, D’Olier St, Dublin 2, Ireland. Email: aghiggin@tcd.ie
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  • Philip Barker PhD,

    1. Visiting Professor, School of Nursing and Midwifery Studies, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
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  • Cecily M Begley RM RNT MSc PhD

    1. Professor of Nursing Midwifery/Director, School of Nursing and Midwifery Studies, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
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Agnes Higgins, School of Nursing and Midwifery Studies, Trinity College Dublin, 24, D’Olier St, Dublin 2, Ireland. Email: aghiggin@tcd.ie

Abstract

Nurses, by virtue of the close relationship with patients, are in a unique position to promote sexual health and provide sexual health advice to people in their care. Although nurses espoused the ideals of person-centred and holistic care, evidence from research studies suggested that, for a number of reasons, nurses did not consciously and proactively engage with patients in relation to sexual concerns. In today health-care environment, where patients are seeking information about the impact of illness and treatments on their sexual function, nurses have a responsibility to proactively engage with patients’ sexual health concerns in an informed and sensitive manner. The aim of this paper is to provide nurses with guidelines on how they might include this aspect of care within their everyday work.

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