The 5-as framework for including sexual concerns in mental health nursing practice

Chris Quinn, Brenda HAPPELL, Anthony Welch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Available evidence informs us that sexual health concerns of consumers are commonly avoided within mental health services. This paper describes the findings of a qualitative exploratory research project. This research was conducted in three stages, all involving in-depth interviews with 14 nurses working in a mental health setting. Stage 1 involved an exploration of participants' views about including sexual concerns in their practice and included an educational intervention designed to encourage sexual inclusivity in practice. Stage 2 involved follow up interviews 4-6 weeks later to discuss the effectiveness of the intervention and whether practice change had resulted. Stage 3 was conducted two years later with the aim of determining the extent to which practice changes had been sustained. The themes emerging throughout the research emphasised five main stages in the nurses' experience: avoidance; awareness; applying; approval; and acknowledgement. Avoidance of the topic was commonly noted in the early stages of the research. The education program led to awareness raising of sexual concerns and approval towards the importance of this area to which lead to applying it to practice. This ultimately resulted in acknowledgement of the need for sexual concerns to become part of mental health nursing practice. These five stages are represented in the Five A's for including sexual concerns in mental health nursing practice, the framework developed by the first author
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-24
Number of pages8
JournalIssues in Mental Health Nursing
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


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