Certified Nurse Midwives' Barriers Toward Sexual Health Screening Practices


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Sexuality and sexual heath are important components of general health screenings. Reports of sexual health screening practices are limited to physicians, nurses and nurse practitioners. No research exists to describe sexual health screening practices of certified nurse-midwives (CNMs), a group of advanced practice registered nurses with specialized training in women’s health, including gynecologic and primary care. The purpose of this study was to determine sexual health screening practices of certified nurse-midwives (CNMs), CNM barriers to addressing sexuality, and the predictors of their screening behaviors.
A descriptive, exploratory design was used to explore relationships between and among the main variables: attitudes and beliefs (barriers), demographic variables (gender, age, ethnicity, marital status, years in practice, type of education program, region where practice occurs, type of practice and average length of appointment) and sexual health screening practices. Data were obtained through web-based electronic surveys of a sample of 278 CNM members of the American College of Nurse-Midwives. Factor analysis on the modified Sexuality Attitudes and Beliefs Survey (mSABS) identified two subscales reflecting CNM comfort and confidence related to sexual health and identification of the role of midwife and patient in sexual health. Few differences were found between demographic subgroups (education, marital status, location of practice and practice type) on the barriers to screening and screening behaviors. The mSABS score, years of practice experience and the amount of time (in minutes) spent with gynecologic patients significantly predicted screening practice index score.
This study provides preliminary evidence that CNM attitudes and beliefs (i.e. mSABS score), more years of experience as a midwife, and more time spent with gynecologic patients may be predictors of sexual health screening. Additionally, foundational information was gathered about the practices of sexual health screening by CNMs.



Certified Nurse Midwife, Sexual Health, Barriers