Nursing students' knowledge, attitude and readiness to work for clients with sexual health concerns

Sarah Kit Fong Kong, Lai Har Wu, Jean Tak Alice Loke Yuen

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)


Aims. To investigate nursing students' knowledge, attitude and readiness to work for clients with sexual health concerns and to identify strategies to help students develop as they take up their role in sexual health-related care. Background. There is an increasing global demand for improving sexual health. A better understanding of nursing students' attitude and readiness to work for clients with sexual health concerns is the beginning of this endeavour. The need to explore strategies for developing competent health care practitioners is timely. Design. A cross-sectional survey. Methods. Nursing students (n = 377) studying in pre- and postregistration programmes were surveyed at a university in Hong Kong using a questionnaire with open- and closed-ended questions about their knowledge, attitude and self-perception on readiness to work for clients with sexual health concerns. Results. Students' knowledge of sexual health was satisfactory. They were positive in acknowledging the nursing role in sexual health care, but hesitant in taking up an active role in practice. Students' readiness to participate in related activities was below satisfactory. Their perception of inadequate knowledge, feelings of anxiety, worries about colleagues' and clients' possible adverse responses and inadequate exemplars were major factors affecting their readiness. This paper also highlighted some important learning areas and strategies that could help in enhancing students' knowledge and confidence in sexual health care practices. Conclusion. Improving the educational programme and clinical practice for nursing students is necessary but may not be adequate. Valuing the affective aspect of education, formal recognition of this extended role and advancing related education to a postexperience level would also benefit the development of sexual health care. Relevance to clinical practice. Preparing more mentors as exemplars, inviting clinicians and managers as partners in sexual health-related care would help nursing students to work efficiently for clients with sexual health concerns.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2372-2382
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Clinical Nursing
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2009


  • Education
  • Health promotion
  • Nurses
  • Nursing students
  • Sexuality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)

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