Thursday, 4 June 2015

Men's Health Month 2015: Nursing care and health interventions for men

Dr Paul Galdas
Senior Lecturer, Department of Health Sciences, University of York

To mark Men's Health Month, we asked JAN editorial board member Paul Galdas to select some recent relevant papers from JAN.
Paul Galdas
Research over the past decade has consistently shown that gender identity plays a key role in men’s experience of illness and decisions to seek and access healthcare for a range of mental and physical health problems. Less common have been studies that have explored how understandings of men’s identities can be translated into more acceptable and satisfactory nursing care and health interventions. Three recent original qualitative investigations published in JAN have shed further light on this in the context of three differing conditions: penile cancer, prostate cancer, and out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.

Branney et al. (2014) explored how men with penile cancer construct humour in relation to their diagnosis and treatment. The use of humour in nursing practice has long been recognised in opinion-based literature, but there has been a paucity of empirical research on the concept. In this study, the researchers explored men’s perspectives on humour and masculinity using focus groups and interviews conducted during a one-day workshop. Humour was found to help men make light of their condition, which meant that they could laugh about the consequences of treatment (‘laughing about urination’) and build rapport with health professionals (‘humour with health professionals’).

Branney et al.’s findings suggest that humour may have a wider role to play in the nursing care of men; particularly those who are experiencing taboo or stigmatised health issues, such as sexual dysfunction. Relevant to this is McCaughan et al.’s (2015) exploration of the experience of prostate cancer survivors and their partners attending a group-based psychosocial intervention, which identified dissatisfaction with the way the issue of sexual dysfunction was dealt with. Also emerging strongly from the interviews was the role men’s partners played in highlighting the problems and issues experienced by their husbands; a theme replicated in Uren and Galdas’ (2014) study of men’s experiences post cardiac arrest. Men who had survived out-of-hospital cardiac arrest drew on masculine ideals of self-reliance, strength and stoicism, but also spoke of being reliant on their partner for help with accessing health care and expressing their needs to health professionals.
Overall, the findings from these three studies recently published in JAN serve to strengthen the growing body of qualitative work highlighting connections between men’s identities and their experience and recovery from ill-health, and will hopefully influence the provision of more acceptable and satisfactory nursing care to men and their families.


Branney P, Witty K, Braybrook D, Bullen K, White A, Eardley I (2014) Masculinities, humour and care for penile cancer: a qualitative study Journal of Advanced Nursing 70:2051-2060

McCaughan E, McKenna S, McSorley O, Parahoo K (2015) Theexperience and perceptions of men with prostate cancer and their partners of the CONNECT psychosocial intervention: a qualitative exploration Journal of Advanced Nursing doi: 10.1111/jan.12648

Uren A, Galdas P (2015) The experiences of male suddencardiac arrest survivors and their partners: a gender analysis Journal of Advanced Nursing 71:349-358

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