There is a great need for more diversity training and compassion toward LGBT clients seeking health services. Despite the fact that the LGBT community has made some significant progress when it comes to discriminatory laws and practices, there still remains the problem of bias from medical professionals. Many LGBT people have met with harassment, misuse of identity pronouns, and have been made to feel uneasy and sometimes completely ignored when discussing specific sexual health needs.
Testing for Orientation Bias
Medical professionals have a duty to do no harm, treat patients with humane care, and be aware that bias does play a role in medical decisions. Sometimes certain health screenings are not performed, vital information is not disclosed, or LGBT specific health concerns are simply dismissed.
A study regarding patient bias was given to health professionals in various positions, and surprisingly, nurses had the most bias toward a patient’s sexual orientation. Trans patients are particularly vulnerable to bias by heterosexual medical professionals, as misdiagnosis or mistreatment can lead to preventable health issues being left untreated.
Raising Awareness and Compassion
Nurses are the main medical professionals that a patient sees when seeking health services. As there are more LGBT clients seeking specific healthcare needs, it would behoove an online nursing program to institute coverage of LGBT health issues and concerns. Any person seeking an accredited online nursing degree should receive comprehensive training on diversity, the importance of putting personal bias aside, and focusing on being ready and able to assess LGBT patient needs.
Nurses especially must be ready to meet the challenge of checking personal bias, being aware of LGBT health challenges, and making health services more compassionate and welcoming. Fear of mistreatment, ridicule, or rejection keeps some LGBT members from seeking necessary life-saving health services.
We are all part of the human family. Education is the one thing that can fight against intolerance and discrimination. Engaging the LGBT community about what specific health needs must be addressed, having awareness of our differences with respect to one’s humanity, and giving progressive compassionate care will make better health services for all. Accredited online nursing programs with awareness of medical bias can lead the way with LGBT health education. An online nursing degree with comprehensive diversity training requirements will better prepare future nurses interacting with LGBT patients.
Personal bias by medical practitioners hurts LGBT patients, medical statistics, and makes vulnerable populations eschew seeking much needed health services. Being aware of one’s personal bias or the bias of a colleague is the first step to making a change. Staying informed about the needs of diverse populations, asking intelligent questions, and treating patients in a welcoming demeanour will save more lives.
Trans patients may need specific cancer screenings, lesbians and gay men have specific sex health needs that too often get overlooked, and compassionate informed nurses and doctors have a responsibility to be aware of this. Bias, misinformation, and harassment can be unlearned, reported, and corrected. LGBT persons deserve humane treatment, with respect to their needs for preventative care, mental health, and the specific challenges that they face.