The knowledge of and educational interest in sexual medicine among medical and midwifery students - A web-based study
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Department of Health Promotion, Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, Helsinki, Finland
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Turku University Hospital and University of Turku, Turku, Finland
Department of Clinical Medicine, Biostatistics, University of Turku, Turku, Finland
Publication date: 2023-10-24
Corresponding author
Sanna-Mari Manninen   

Department of Health Promotion, Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, Helsinki, Finland
Eur J Midwifery 2023;7(Supplement 1):A174
Many elements of life, such as contraception, pregnancy and childbirth, can affect sexual health; thus, health care professionals require good knowledge of sexual medicine to meet and treat patients with sexual health issues. We aimed to study the medical and midwifery students’ self-reported knowledge of factors associated with sexuality and the knowledge of how to evaluate and treat patients with sexual problems. In addition, educational interests were assessed.

Material and Methods:
A web-based questionnaire was distributed to final-year medical and midwifery students in Finland.

Altogether, 233 medical students and 131 midwifery students participated in the study. Both student groups self-reported insufficient knowledge of how to evaluate sexuality in mentally ill patients, how to encounter victims of domestic violence/sexual abuse, and how multiculturalism affects sexuality. In addition, compared to the midwifery students, the medical students were more likely to self-report insufficient knowledge of the basics of sexual pleasure and its treatment (OR 3.90, 95% CI 2.35–6.48), including how to treat sexual problems due to relationship problems (OR 2.24, 95% CI 1.32–3.81) or chronic diseases (OR 2.72, 95% CI 1.45–5.08). Although several educational fields of interest were mentioned, both student groups identified the same two topics as most desirable to learn: 1) reasons for dyspareunia and its treatment (n=117/233, 50.2% for medical students; n=60/131, 45.8% for midwifery students) and 2) lack of sexual desire and its treatment (n=100/233, 42.9% for medical students; n=55/131, 42.0% for midwifery students).

In both student groups, the self-reported knowledge of sexual medicine was insufficient. Thus, more education on sexual medicine should be included in the curricula of medical and midwifery education programs.

None of the authors have any conflicts of interest relating to this manuscript.
The Sexual Medicine Education (SexMEdu) study was supported by a grant from The Finnish Medical Society Duodecim and The Federation of Finnish Midwifes.
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