The rise of transgender people has formed the topic of most conversations in the United States and globally too. Lack of adherence to transgender rights has formed a great percentage of that conversation. The rights to access healthcare facilities ad be part of particular institutions have been denied due to their choice of lifestyle.
Medical experts and physicians need to be widely informed about LGBT and Transgender health needs because they continue to suffer in silence. These medical personnel need to be educated on the health needs of the LGBT because for a long period, individuals from this community have been discriminated and have been labelled as having mental disorders. This has formed part of the major reason why they do not enjoy such fundamental rights. (Hafeez, Zeshan, Tahir, Jahan, & Naveed, 2017 ). The long history of denying people from this community health services has driven them to harmful practices aimed at harming themselves and people close to them. Secondly, although they do not suffer from specific diseases, they face a number of health disparities which affect them adversely. These disparities arise from legal issues, discrimination and lack of healthcare policies to accommodate members of this community.
To address these issues, there is need to create an enabling environment for all LGBT people. Support groups where they are able to frequently meet and talk about their problems while coming up with in-house solutions. One cannot stress on the importance of educating the masses about their healthcare needs. In (Martos, Wilson, and Meyer, 2017) apart from general healthcare practices, there are particular issues that face transgender community, they are referred to as transgender care: it entails special mental and physical care for such patients. Transgender patients particularly require such specialized treatment as they transition from one gender to another.
Hafeez, H., Zeshan, M., Tahir, M. A., Jahan, N., & Naveed, S. (2017). Health Care Disparities Among Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Youth: A Literature Review. Cureus. doi:10.7759/cureus.1184
Martos, A. J., Wilson, P. A., & Meyer, I. H. (2017). Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) health services in the United States: Origins, evolution, and contemporary landscape. PLOS ONE, 12(7), e0180544. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0180544
The main theme running through discussions of healthcare for the LGBT community is that there is a lack of knowledge about the types of healthcare issues that the community faces. This then results in healthcare disparity and inequities. Along with more knowledge, healthcare workers need to become more sensitive and welcoming to the LGBT community. Because of past feelings of lack of acceptance, judgment and discrimination, this cultural group tends to have a higher rate of chronic illnesses such as hepatitis B and C and a higher prevalence of cancer and cardiovascular disease than heterosexuals do. Johnson (2015) of Modern Healthcare says, “Many LGBT patients say they’re reluctant to visit providers that do not offer services specific to the LGBT population. As a result, many LGBT people may delay or forgo seeking care to avoid what they fear will be an uncomfortable experience with clinical staff” (Johnson, 2015). This attitude on the part of healthcare providers must change, and advanced practice nurses can lead the way.
Advanced practice nurses can specifically address the issue of health disparities among LGBT people through research. Cahill and Makadon (2014) of LGBT Health (2015) cite an Institute of Medicine (IOM) Report from 2011 that found health disparities “such as the prevalence of sexually transmitted infections and HIV, and the high rates of behavioral health issues, including suicidal ideation and attempts, often related to stigma, discrimination, bullying, and hate crimes” (p. 1). Other findings from the report include the fact that lesbians are more likely to be overweight or obese than heterosexual and bisexual women (Cahill & Makadon, 2014, p. 1). Other issues such as doing prostate gland exams on trans women and breast exams on trans men may not occur to healthcare providers, but these sorts of issues can be addressed through research, part of an evidence-based practice, something advanced practice nurses should be aspiring too.
Learning about the LGBT community and doing research on ways to lower the number of health disparities comply with many of the essentials for a Master’s degree in Nursing Science. Doing research on LGBT patients provides a “background for practice from science and humanities, demonstrates organizational and systems leadership, translates into quality improvement and safety, and translates and integrates scholarship into practice. Doing research on how to best help the LGBT community provides a background for research and integrates findings from that research into nursing care across diverse settings. It will also work to change the culture that has thus far created a reluctance among the LGBT community to seek healthcare. This type of research is ethical and demonstrates care because searching for ways to help is seeking to eliminate disparities. By finding solutions to the healthcare problems that the LGBT community faces, advanced practice nurses use what they have learned from research and study to change practice norms for healthcare providers who work with the LGBT community.
Cahill, S., & Makadon, H. (2014). Sexual orientation and gender identity data collection in clinical settings and in electronic health records: A key to ending LGBT health disparities. LGBT health, 1(1), 1-8. Retrieved from https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/8dc3/5218acf021b61c48ff99ecc7fa58df1b3adc.pdf
Johnson, S. R. (2015, August 22). Learning to be LGBT-Friendly. Retrieved from Modern Healthcare: http://www.modernhealthcare.com/article/20150822/MAGAZINE/308229979
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