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How Can Nurses Support LGBTQ People?

Nurse in rainbow

Nurses are in a unique position that allows them to have a deep understanding of the LGBTQ community. Nurses can work in both hospitals and clinics or even see patients within the privacy of their homes. There are many ways for nurses to support lesbian, gay, and bisexual people as well as their families.

Nurses can also advocate for LGBTQ professionals and make healthcare more welcoming for all members of the LGBTQ community.

Why Nurses are Needed to Support the LGBTQ Community

For a community to thrive, it must have a strong support system. For the LGBTQ community, their support network needs to be built from within the community itself.

Anyone that is an ally to LGBTQ people can be a visible representative of the community, but it is also important that they be a member of the community. Nurses are in a unique position to help support LGBTQ patients in two ways: providing direct care and advocating for them as professionals.

Supporting LGBTQ Patients During Their Hospital Stays

Hospital stays can be a time when the LGBTQ community needs to have a strong support system. First, many people have a hard time accessing healthcare in the first place, even if they need it.

Sadly, LGBTQ individuals are less likely than non-LGBTQ people to have health insurance coverage. As a result, LGBTQ individuals generally have higher rates of emergency department visits and hospitalization.

Additionally, in states where there are no laws protecting LGBTQ people from discrimination in healthcare settings, hospital stays can be especially stressful for patients because of the lack of legal protections for their identities.

Starting with the obvious ways to provide patient-centered care during hospitalized stays is important.

The patient’s safety is the number one priority and should be guaranteed at all times. It’s also important to take steps to reduce anxiety during hospital stays. Sometimes, a visit from an LGBTQ person can help calm down a hospital stay for the patient as well as offer support in other ways.

Nurses Supporting LGBTQ Families and Children

Nurse advocates can provide direct care for LGBTQ people in several ways. For example, family nurse practitioners can work with healthcare providers to ensure that patients are treated equally, even if they identify differently from other members of their families. Additional ways that nurses can support LGBTQ families and their children include connecting them with resources and local organizations, as well as advocating for policies that support patients more widely.

Many nurses are LGBTQ themselves, so there is quite a bit of knowledge that they can pass on to their medical colleagues and families. Sometimes, a visit from an LGBTQ family member or friend can help calm down a hospital stay for the patient as well as offer support in other ways.

How Nurses Can Support Members of The LGBTQ Community

Supporting LGTBQ people is something that everyone in healthcare should be doing. When it comes to nurses, who are often more patient-facing than anyone else in healthcare, this is even more important.

Here are a few ways that professional nurses can help LGBTQ people, whether they are their patients or friends/family of the patient.

Setting an Example

Nurses can support LGBTQ people by working in LGBTQ-friendly health centers, hospitals, and clinics. Many nurses are also themselves members of the community and can provide support to others.

For nurses that are in the LGBTQ community themselves and feel comfortable, being a visible LGBTQ nurse can help make healthcare more welcoming for LGBTQ patients and people who are hoping to enter the nursing profession.

Supporting and Collaborating with Professionals

Nurse advocates can help provide direct care to patients in hospital settings. They can also help encourage health systems to provide better care for LGBTQ patients through policies, procedures, and other resources.

Often, LGBTQ patients need more support than their non-LGBTQ counterparts due to the obstacles they face when it comes to healthcare. It is the job of the nurse, in this case, to advocate for the patient and ensure their rights are protected, and their safety is met.

Engaging The Community

Nurses can encourage others to become more involved with the LGBTQ community by talking about the importance of LGBTQ healthcare and working for change. Additionally, nurses can be active in local and national health organizations.

They can connect with other LGBTQ nurses to discuss issues that are important to the LGBTQ community, and they can also advocate for more inclusion of LGBTQ people in healthcare.

Talking About Issues that Matter

Nurses can talk about health issues concerning the LGBTQ community and bring their experiences to the table during conversations with patients or other professionals.

However, this is often not enough. To support the LGBTQ community, nurses need to be working for bigger changes. For example, in addition to talking about the importance of LGBTQ healthcare with other professionals, nurses can support LGBTQ people by writing about their experiences and their hopes for change.

A lot of research has been done on how the LGBTQ community needs more inclusion in healthcare, and nurses can contribute to that conversation as well.

Encouraging Advocacy

Nurses can advocate for policies that support LGBTQ patients by attending advocacy events and joining professional organizations, such as the American Nurses Association, that work on these issues.

Additionally, nurses can talk about the importance of LGBTQ healthcare even in stories and articles that are not directly related to patients. As a result, nurses have more of an opportunity to share their experiences with the community.

Participating in Education Opportunities

Nurses can participate in LGBTQ-friendly educational opportunities that are sponsored by professional associations or by other organizations.

For example, many nursing schools have LGBT components, so nurses can share their knowledge and experiences with LGBTQ people at these events.

Additionally, nurses at nursing schools often have education programs and resources for patients to use when they get sick or need medical care.

Supporting Diversity

Nurses can support patients by talking about the importance of including LGBTQ people in healthcare and in the healthcare workforce. This is an issue that needs to be addressed more often. For example, it’s important for nurses to talk about the experience of being LGBTQ themselves.

Often, patients have a more positive experience with a nurse that understands their experiences. They also connect better with their doctor when they are aware of how other people understand their lives.

This makes it easier for them to discuss difficult subjects such as sexual orientation or gender identity with a healthcare provider. As a result, patients receive better care and may gain greater insight into themselves and their experiences as LGBTQ people.

Advocacy at Home

For those in the LGBTQ community, home can be a safe space from discrimination and judgment. Nurses can support LGBTQ people at home by helping them avoid feeling isolated at home, for example, by connecting them with other family members or friends that are supportive.

Additionally, an out nurse can help educate children about issues concerning the LGBTQ community in a way that is age-appropriate and doesn’t make the child feel awkward or uncomfortable.

For families with a member of the LGBTQ community, it is important to understand what their needs are as well as be aware of how other people view them.

Nurses Can Promote Health in the LGBT Community

For nurses, the ability to support the LGBTQ community starts in the workplace. Support can be provided in several ways within the workplace, ranging from education to advocacy. Nurses can help promote LGBTQ healthcare by joining local and national healthcare organizations that work for LGBTQ rights. Additionally, nurses can get together to talk about LGBTQ healthcare issues and offer support for each other.

This is just one example of how nurses can show their support for the LGBTQ community in any way that they feel comfortable doing. In addition to these efforts, there are many other ways that nurses—or anyone working in healthcare—can actively support members of the LGBTQ community by promoting health or advocating for change.

How to Be an Ally for LGBTQ Patients?

Nurses have the unique opportunity to advocate for social justice and health for persons who are different and marginalized

Allies stand up for their LGBTQ patients in a variety of ways. The most important thing that you can do as an ally is to educate yourself on LGBTQ healthcare issues and how they affect your patient.

Then you can talk with your patient, family members, and colleagues about these issues and support them in setting goals to improve their health.

There are several ways that nurses can support LGBTQ patients, including providing comfort through listening or talking, offering opportunities to meet others with similar experiences, or showing support by reading educational materials related to the community.

Conclusion

Nurses can provide support for LGBTQ patients in many ways, often through education and advocacy. For example, by joining professional organizations that advocate for the inclusion of LGBTQ patients in healthcare, nurses can support their community and make a big difference.

Additionally, nurses can participate in educational opportunities to learn more about the LGBTQ community and its health issues. When they have a better understanding of these issues, they are better able to help patients who are struggling or in need.

 

 

 

 

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Ebone Bell
Eboné Bell
Eboné is the Editor-in-Chief of Tagg Magazine. She is the illegitimate child of Oprah and Ellen...so it's only right that she continues their legacy in the media world.