Sexuality and Serious Mental Illness Educating New Graduate Nurses: Graylands Hospital, Western Australia

Sexuality and Serious Mental Illness Educating New Graduate Nurses: Graylands Hospital, Western Australia

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Sexual activity among persons with serious mental illness is an issue of clinical, social and legal concern. Sexuality in the psychiatric population traditionally had been considered an uncommon occurrence because of anhedonia, psychosocial impairment and medication-induced sexual dysfunction. The reality is that individuals may become hypersexual because of psychotic phenomena. Graduate nurses must deal with a range of sex related matters i.e. sexual health, sexual pathology, forensic issues, psychotic hypersexuality. They will also be required to deal with mentally disordered sex offenders.

New graduate nurses are uncertain how they should deal with complex sexually related scenarios. There are also legal and ethical considerations when being confronted with sex related disclosures in a hospital setting. Competence of individuals with serious mental illness to consent to sexual contacts in a locked environment is also another important factor for the graduate nurse to consider.

The North Metropolitan Health Service Graduate Nurse Program of Western Australia delivers lectures over six week period before nurses are rostered onto the ward environment. The program design was to increase knowledge and specialist skills to allow new graduate nurses to deal confidently with complex mental health and sex related issues. This presentation will summarise the key points of one of these lectures “Sexuality and Serious Mental Illness” which covers the history of sexuality and psychiatry, sexual developmental theories, sexuality and mental illness, pharmacology and sexual dysfunction, sexual outlets in a mental health setting, nursing response to sexual behaviours, nursing boundaries and legal responsibilities, forensic sexology and related pathologies. Consistent feedback from participants is that this lecturer has delivered essential and invaluable nursing education as part of their Mental Health Nursing induction.

Conference: Demo
Areas of Interest / Categories: Mental Health
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