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Nurs Clin North Am. 2002 Sep;37(3):433-42.

Improving the health and well-being of adolescent boys.

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Division of Adolescent Medicine, Schneider Children's Hospital, North Shore LIJ Health System, 410 Lakeville Rd, Suite 101, New Hyde Park, NY 11040, USA.


Adolescent men are at risk of having significant unmet health care needs. Like adolescent girls, they have complex health care needs and are more likely than younger children to be to be uninsured. They are less likely than women and other age groups to seek medical attention from traditional sources of care. Because of inadequate youth-oriented services, as well as teens' developmental stage, they have a tendency to receive care that is brief and problem oriented [20]. Such care is not likely to address complex problems that may be related to risk behaviors. Adolescent boys are also more concerned with the skills of the provider offering services than with the system in which the provider functions. Opportunities for outreach to adolescent men exist within many institutions. Nurses as advocates, educators, counselors, and providers of preventive health care have a creative opportunity for enhancing services to the teenage boy. The school is a natural place to begin as adolescents spend a significant part of each day there. Family planning and STI clinics are a source of care that are not well used by adolescent males, but when they do attend it is an opportunity to identify problems, provide counseling and referrals, and offer continuity. These health care institutions are not often welcoming or comfortable for the male youth. Use of these clinics will be enhanced by providers demonstrating increased acceptance of the adolescent when he attends as well as actively requesting that he attend with his partner. The most unusual but sorely needed outreach must be made to incarcerated and delinquent adolescent male. Residential facilities for delinquent youth need to be encouraged to provide a multidisciplinary comprehensive medical, mental health, and social services model. This approach will not only benefit the adolescent but the youth's community as well. Emergency rooms represent another crucial, missed opportunity to connect with young men. With some forethought and follow-up, emergency departments must become connected to appropriate and accessible adolescent primary care resources in the community. Finally, adolescent men are an underinsured population. Nurses can be important advocates of available state insurance funds, sliding scale or free services to youth, and must be a voice in youth policy-making.

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