Chris Quinn, RN, DAS (Nurs), Grad Dip (MHN).
Getting BETTER: Breaking the ice and warming to the inclusion of sexuality in mental health nursing care
Article first published online: 6 DEC 2011
© 2011 The Authors. International Journal of Mental Health Nursing © 2011 Australian College of Mental Health Nurses Inc.
International Journal of Mental Health Nursing
Volume 21, Issue 2, pages 154–162, April 2012
How to Cite
Quinn, C. and Happell, B. (2012), Getting BETTER: Breaking the ice and warming to the inclusion of sexuality in mental health nursing care. International Journal of Mental Health Nursing, 21: 154–162. doi: 10.1111/j.1447-0349.2011.00783.x
Brenda Happell, RN, RPN, BA (Hons), Dip Ed, BEd, MEd, PhD.
- Issue published online: 5 MAR 2012
- Article first published online: 6 DEC 2011
- Accepted September 2011.
- bring up;
- mental health;
Discussing sexual issues with consumers is considered a nursing role, yet it is commonly avoided. Research suggests that sexual issues and difficulties are particularly evident in mental health settings, and failure to address these issues represents a significant gap in care and treatment. Specific models for raising sexual issues have been used in oncology and cardiac care settings to assist clinicians. A descriptive, exploratory study was conducted with mental health nurses from Queensland, Australia. The aim of this research was to explore whether a specific model, the BETTER model (bring up, explain, tell, time, educate, record) was useful in assisting mental health nurses in raising the topic of sexuality with consumers. In-depth interviews explored participants' attitudes and experiences of discussing sexuality. Participants were introduced to the BETTER model, and were asked to trial the approach with consumers. They were then interviewed a second time. Two main themes emerged: greater awareness and becoming part of practice. Participants described a transformation of their practice from one of avoiding issues of sexuality with consumers, to a position of inclusion, which became embedded within practice. Participants did not tend to use the model in a structured way, and it appears that knowledge and awareness were more useful than the model itself.