Mixing the Genders: an ethical dilemma. How nursing theory has dealt with sexuality and gender

Batcup, Dawn and Thomas, Ben. 1994. Mixing the Genders: an ethical dilemma. How nursing theory has dealt with sexuality and gender. Nursing Ethics: An International Journal for Health Care Professionals, 1(1), pp. 43-52. ISSN 0969-7330 [Article]

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As nursing moves towards a holistic approach to care, its publications on sexuality have proliferated. 'Sexuality' and 'Gender' are concepts which are extremely difficult to define. While sex refers to the physical differences of the body, gender concerns the psychological and sociocultural differences between females and males. This distinction between sex and gender is fundamental, since many differences between females and males are not biological in origin. And, when a person's gender and sex fall together in accordance with social norms, it may not necessarily be a similar correlation for every individual.

The nature of these similarities is essentially threefold. First, Thomas, Savage and Webb accept that there should be a nursing definition of sexuality. In different ways they acknowledge and refer to it as an integral part of a person's being and self concept. Secondly, the authors underline some of the complexities and difficulties nurses have defining and dealing with it in professional relationships as well as on the level of self reflection, knowledge, attitudes and beliefs. Thirdly, all three surveys show why such difficulties prevail, and go on to make suggestions for change in nursing interventions and training. This article summarizes these contributions and discusses the ethical problems which nurses face in dealing with the sexuality of their patients.

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Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Social, Therapeutic & Community Engagement (STaCS)



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Date Deposited:

17 Nov 2015 10:58

Last Modified:

07 Jul 2017 15:50

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Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



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