This presentation is based on the results of a DNP project, a descriptive study, guided by Critical Social Theory and Feminist Pedagogy, that demonstrated a lack of general knowledge among nurses, nursing students and nurse educators concerning lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender [LGBT] behaviors although attitudes and acceptance of the LGBT population were favorable. Therefore this author believes there exists opportunities for important LGBT education and health promotion in our nursing programs beyond the common assessment question “are you sexually active with men, women or both”? In the United States, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender [LGBT] persons have faced a long history of discrimination, intolerance and exclusion. From the Save our Children Campaign in the 1970s to the most recent regulation of bathroom use. The U.S Department of Health and Human Services [USDHHS], though Healthy People 2020 has recognized the health disparities that history, current discrimination, intolerance and exclusion has caused this population. Some of the disparities of this population include lower perceived risk of sexually transmitted diseases for lesbians and underreported incidents of domestic abuse for gay men. Bisexual and transgender men and women face increased rates of depression than their heterosexual counterparts and transgender men and women have higher victimization and suicide rates than all groups. A review of LGBT nursing literature reveals a theme of “nursing’s silence” about LGBT issues, heterosexism and homophobia expressed by both patients and nurses in the profession. The USDHHS highlighted the need to improve LGBT health and decrease the shortage of knowledgeable and culturally aware providers for this population. Nursing is in a position to help fill this gap however the author suggests based on the findings of this project we need more discussion of LGBT health in our nursing programs.
Audience Take Away:
• Examine nursing’s history of silence, heterosexism and homophobia and how it may have contributed to nursing’s current knowledge, attitudes and acceptance of LGBT health.
• Begin to question your own biases and comfort working with and caring for LGBT patients
• Identify the opportunity for improved LGBT health education and health promotion in nursing programs