Sexual counselling of cardiac patients: Nurses' perception of practice, responsibility and confidence

Jaarsma, T., Stromberg, A., Fridland, B., De Geest, S., Martensson, J., Moons, P., Norekval, T.M., Smith, K., Steinke, E. and Thompson, D. R. (2010) Sexual counselling of cardiac patients: Nurses' perception of practice, responsibility and confidence. European Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing, 9 1: 24-29. doi:10.1016/j.ejcnurse.2009.11.003

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Author Jaarsma, T.
Stromberg, A.
Fridland, B.
De Geest, S.
Martensson, J.
Moons, P.
Norekval, T.M.
Smith, K.
Steinke, E.
Thompson, D. R.
Title Sexual counselling of cardiac patients: Nurses' perception of practice, responsibility and confidence
Journal name European Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1474-5151
Publication date 2010-03
Year available 2009
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.ejcnurse.2009.11.003
Volume 9
Issue 1
Start page 24
End page 29
Total pages 6
Place of publication Amsterdam, Netherlands
Publisher Elsevier BV
Collection year 2011
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Cardiac patients may experience problems with sexual activity as a result of their disease, medications or anxiety and nurses play an important role in sexual counselling. We studied the practice, responsibility and confidence of cardiac nurses in the sexual counselling of these patients.


An adapted version of the nurses' survey of sexual counselling of MI patients was administered during a scientific meeting of the Council on Cardiovascular Nursing and Allied Professionals within the European Society of Cardiology.

Most of the 157 cardiovascular nurses (87%) who completed the survey felt responsible to discuss sexual concerns with their clients, especially when patients initiated a discussion. However in practice, most respondents rarely addressed sexual issues. The items that nurses reported to counsel patients were closely related to the cardiac disease, symptoms and medications and seldom more sensitive subjects (e.g. foreplay, positions). Nurses estimated that their patients could be upset (67%), embarrassed (72%) or anxious (68%) if they were asked about sexual concerns. One-fifth of the nurses felt they had insufficient knowledge and 40% sometimes hesitated to discuss sexual concerns with clients because they might not know how to answer questions. Additional education on sexuality was significantly related to being more comfortable and active in sexual counselling.


Although cardiac nurses feel responsible and not anxious discussing patients' sexual concerns, these issues are not often discussed in daily practice. Nurses might need more knowledge and specific practical training in providing information on sexual concerns and sexual counselling to cardiac patients.
Copyright © 2009 European Society of Cardiology.
Keyword Nurses attitudes
Sexual counselling
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Available online 11 December 2009.

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2011 Collection
School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work Publications
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Created: Wed, 16 Mar 2011, 10:57:39 EST by Vicki Percival on behalf of School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work