• bring up;
  • explain;
  • tell;
  • time;
  • educate;
  • record;
  • mental health;
  • nurse;
  • sexuality


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.