The following article is part of coverage from the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners Annual Meeting (NAPNAP 2020). Due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the Association made the necessary decision to cancel the meeting originally scheduled for March 25 to 28, 2020, in Long Beach, CA. While live events will not proceed as planned, readers can click here to catch up on the latest research intended to be presented at the meeting.

While the majority of pediatric nurse practitioners (PNPs) report that they intend to address adolescent sexual health behaviors, barriers such as organizational capacity often prevent them from initiating proper screening, according to research presented virtually at the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners Annual Meeting (NAPNAP 2020).

“Adolescent high-risk sexual behavior, including engaging in unprotected sexual activity and experiencing multiple sexual partners, leads to an increased likelihood of acquiring a sexually transmitted infection [chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and HIV] and unwanted pregnancies,” reported Tonya M. Schmitt, DNP, APRN, CPNP, of the University of Toledo, College of Nursing.

Continue Reading

Although current guidelines from professional health organizations support annual screening with a validated tool, “some PNP’s remain reluctant to complete an assessment of adolescent sexual health in clinical practice,” leaving <40% to 50% of adolescents receiving comprehensive sexual health assessment and counseling concerns.

To identify barriers in addressing high-risk sexual behaviors among adolescents, the researchers conducted a correlational study in which members of NAPNAP participated in an online anonymous survey. The survey included demographic questions and the Sexuality Attitudes and Beliefs Survey (SABS). ­­Questions in the SABS were related to discussing sexuality within the context of the well-visit; scores ranged from 1 (strongly disagree) to 6 (strongly agree).

A total of 144 PNPs completed the survey; ­­­the mean value for the SABS was 61.65, indicating a high degree of barriers to addressing high-risk sexual behaviors. Organizational capacity (ie, infrastructure, leadership) was found to be the primary barrier to sexual health screening among respondents­­­.

The knowledge gained from this study has potential to provide evidence that might enrich advance practice pediatric nurse-patient relationships, noted the authors of the study. “If they become aware of their own attitudes and beliefs that may act as a barrier or facilitators to assessing adolescent sexual health behaviors,” concluded Dr Schmitt.

Visit Clinical Advisor’s conference section for complete coverage of NAPNAP 2020.


Schmitt TM. The impact of attitudes/beliefs and work environment on pediatric nurse practitioners’ intention to address adolescent sexual health. Presented virtually at: NAPNAP 2020; June 4-5, 2020. Abstract W12.