Perceptions of nurses at Ndola teaching hospital towards sexual health needs of people with mental health problems.

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Chambatu, Alice
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The University of Zambia
Sexual and reproductive health (SRH) is among the fundamental packages of health care, which all clients seeking health care should receive. Thus, it is essential to understand nurses’ perceptions towards sexual health needs of people with mental problems because they are champions of sexual and reproductive health rights (SRHR) for all. The aim of this study was to explore perceptions of nurses at Ndola Teaching Hospital towards sexual health needs of people with mental health problems. A general descriptive qualitative study design was utilised and data were collected using three focus group discussions (FGDs). Purposive sampling was used to select the 21 nurses who participated in the study. Nine were male, while 12 were female. Each FGD comprised of seven participants. The discussions were audio recorded and transcribed. Thematic analysis was used to analyse the data, and six major themes emerged. Trustworthiness of the study was achieved through maintenance of credibility, transferability, dependability and confirmability. Six themes emanated from the participants: Physiological interplay among different body systems such as the nervous, endocrine and cardiovascular systems in the regulation of sex, disease process itself as well as effects of psychotropic, participant differences in their age, gender, educational level and cultural backgrounds, staff shortages in mental health units and deficient record keeping Social stereotypes and labelling theories were mentioned as societal contributions to sexual misdemeanours by people with mental health problems. Participants acknowledged existence of sexual activity among people with mental health problems and there were diverse negative perceptions. Mental health specialists equipped with knowledge in SRH should be at the centre of this care provision as well as facilitating advocacy. This would in turn reduce morbidity and mortality from sexually engineered illnesses and conditions among people with mental health problems. Key words Sexual health, Sexuality, Perception of nurses, Sexual and Reproductive Health, Mental health
Psychiatric nursing. , People with mental disabilities--Care. , Sexual health in mental health practice. , Health needs--Individuals-- Mental health problems. , Sexual health--Mental patients.