DiversityNursing Blog

Nurse Suicide Is A Real Problem We Should Be Addressing

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Thu, Jun 21, 2018 @ 10:29 AM

toolkit2In recent news, the deaths of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain have brought the issue of suicide into the spotlight. Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States, and one of three that is increasing. The other two are Alzheimer’s disease and drug overdose, in part because of the spike in opioid deaths, said Dr. Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the C.D.C.

Suicide rates from 1999 to 2016 increased in all age groups younger than 75 years, with the greatest increase shown in “middle-aged adults” aged 45 to 64 years, increasing 25 percent nationally. 

Research has shown that Physicians are twice as likely to commit suicide as the general population, and while there is a notable lack of information about the suicide rates for Nurses in the US, a report from the UK finds that “for females, the risk of suicide among health professionals was 24% higher than the female national average; this is largely explained by high suicide risk among female Nurses.”

Nurses are stuck between demands of the patient and demands of the system. When caring for patients, you are exposed to everything from debilitating diseases to traumatic situations. Without proper coping mechanisms – a support system to vent to after work, colleagues to share similar feelings with, a stable and supportive home life – the tragedies of daily work can take a toll on Nurses, one that is insidious and may not become evident until a breaking point is reached. 

Health-care organizations need to more proactively report suicide in their workforce, so we can begin to understand the drivers for suicide in health-care workers. Also institutions need to develop procedures and processes for grief recovery support for colleagues of the deceased. Many institutions shy away from even mentioning suicide at the workplace. There is concern for suicide contagion, an increased tendency toward suicide in the already predisposed upon hearing of a suicide.

Having a stronger ability to identify the warning signs of suicide can help healthcare professionals spot them in their peers—and themselves, said Joe Parks, M.D., medical director of the National Council for Behavioral Health. "We don't train Doctors and Nurses near well enough to ask for help for themselves," he said.

There are several warning signs providers can keep an eye out for, such as:

  • Isolation
  • Increased anxiety
  • A sense of being trapped or a burden on others
  • Increased use of drugs or alcohol
  • Extreme mood swings
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Referencing or mentioning a desire to die


Resources

  • If you or someone you know is in an emergency, call 911 immediately.
  • If you are in crisis or are experiencing difficult or suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273 TALK (8255)
  • If you’re uncomfortable talking on the phone, you can also text NAMI to 741-741 to be connected to a free, trained crisis counselor on the Crisis Text Line.
kvOsqDNA_400x400

Topics: Nurse suicide, Suicide in Nursing, Nurse depression

Unconscious Bias in Healthcare

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Fri, Jun 15, 2018 @ 09:37 AM

Unconscious bias in HealthcareThe Nursing profession has long emphasized its commitment to social justice and health equity. Nurses are known for advocating policies and regulations that are inclusive and lead to positive patient outcomes. However, an essential component of promoting health equity is acknowledging individual unconscious biases and understanding how they may impact the care that's provided.

According to the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, implicit bias, also known as unconscious bias, is “the bias in judgment and/or behavior that results from subtle cognitive processes (e.g., implicit attitudes and implicit stereotypes) that often operate at a level below conscious awareness and without intentional control.” 

Social Psychologists theorize that the content of our unconscious biases are learned from the society in which we live. From a very early age, all of us are repetitively exposed to certain ideas from our family, friends, neighbors, teachers; and, from the constant input of various forms of media. Over time, these ideas become embedded in our belief system and are activated automatically and unconsciously.

In the context of health care, unconscious bias can lead to health disparities such as the under treatment of conditions like pain, cardiovascular disease, asthma and mental health in racial and ethnic minorities. One of the things that accounts for health disparities is unconscious bias in health care providers. Not only does unconscious bias contribute to under-treatment, but studies have shown that providers with more implicit biases are more likely to have negative interactions with patients. This impacts trust and the likelihood that patients will seek health care. 

There are ways we can prevent this.

Notice Your Assumptions

Everything from language barriers to job status to regional inflections can cause people to assume a patient has certain traits, behaviors, or beliefs that you might not agree with. Notice that feeling when you are trying to explain treatments to a patient, when responding to their needs, or when dealing with an extended and involved family.

Follow the National CLAS Standards

The National CLAS Standards are a set of 15 action steps intended to advance health equity, improve quality, and help eliminate health care disparities by providing a blueprint for individuals and health care organizations to implement culturally and linguistically appropriate services.

Explore awkwardness and discomfort

It’s okay to feel outside your comfort zone or to be unsure of what to feel, do or say. In a world in which people mostly back away from discomfort and awkwardness, that could be the source of the greatest learning.

Training

Rather than making changes from the top of the business and hoping it trickles down into every area, unconscious bias training provides each individual employee with an understanding of the impact they can have by changing their way of thinking.

Unconscious bias training is geared around three things: awareness, impact and action. We can build awareness about why biases exist (and individual ones we hold), demonstrate the impact they can have on our decisions, actions and working patterns, and finally, agree how we can take action to ensure they are not expressed in a way that could negatively impact the work environment.

Although many healthcare providers don't see themselves as being biased, it's a common and persistent problem. If left unrecognized and unmanaged, unconscious bias can lead to health disparities, resulting in potentially negative consequences for patients. The strategies above can be used by Nurses and other healthcare professionals to overcome unconscious bias and provide optimal patient care.

Topics: unconscious bias, unconscious bias training, unconscious bias in healthcare

Networking Tips For Nurses

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Fri, Jun 08, 2018 @ 10:29 AM

networkingIf the idea of chatting up a complete stranger in hopes of landing your next job gives you sweaty palms, dry mouth, and the jitters, you are not alone. Networking is difficult, even for the most sociable types of people. Think of networking events as a low-pressure way to make new connections and stay engaged in your industry.

Networking is also a great way to make personal connections and build relationships with other Nursing professionals so that you can share tips and advice, lean on each other for support, and converse.

Join Organizations

Every healthcare specialty has its own professional organization. These organizations offer many training and conference events, which are excellent opportunities for networking. They'll also help you stay current of the latest practice, regulation and technology developments that are relevant to your field.

Attend Conferences

When attending conferences use these tips.

• Wear your name tag on your left lapel so you don’t block your name when shaking hands. If you fill out the name tag yourself, print clearly so your name and title are visible from about 5 feet away. That way, others won’t need to squint at your chest to read your name.

• Keep your handshake firm and friendly. Don’t hang on, and don’t pump! Remember to make eye contact, and smile.

• Keep breath mints handy. Networking usually takes place around drinks and food, and the first thing that greets a new contact shouldn’t be the garlic and onion dip.

• Keep your business cards handy (a business card holder is best), but don’t throw them at everyone you meet. Hand your business card to a contact so it’s right side up and facing that person. When someone hands you a business card, take a moment to look at it; then say thank you and carefully put it away. 

Use Social Media

Social media sites, such as LinkedIn and Facebook, allow you to connect with industry and professional organizations, as well as individuals. This will keep you up to date on upcoming training and informational events in your area. LinkedIn is especially useful to reach out to potential mentors and experienced professionals who may provide future references.

Use Existing Connections

It’s important to realize that your professional network isn’t just the people you know. It’s exponential beyond that; the people you know have connections, who have connections, and so on. Reach out to your existing colleagues in the medical world and ask for introductions to people they think you should know.

When it comes to networking in the Nursing field, it’s to be understood that it’s a two-way street. While it’s reasonable to look out for one’s own professional interests and aims, it’s also important to help someone in need. Whenever you receive a professional request, please consider it as if you need it for yourself. Try to remain open to whatever comes your way and be ready to provide a helping hand to others in need. This also applies to your social media accounts. Try to maintain a good response rate and interact with people whenever and wherever possible.

Don't forget to follow up

Leaving at the end of a networking event can mean your mind is swirling with leads for future positions, ideas for your resume, and new mentors to reach out to in the coming days. Before you lose the momentum of the connections you’ve just made, remember to follow up. Send a quick note by email or LinkedIn to the people you’d like to stay in touch with.

Professional networking is one of the best approaches to land the job you want. Do you have any tips to offer? We'd love to hear them! Please comment below. 

Topics: social networking, professional networking

The Future of Nursing Technology Is Exciting

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Tue, Jun 05, 2018 @ 10:27 AM

The Future Of Nursing Tech-120731-editedTechnology continues to revolutionize healthcare and we have entered an exciting new frontier of state-of-the-art gadgets and high-tech communication systems. Some of these changes are made possible by our growing ability to utilize big data to improve outcomes through the field of health informatics; others by awe-inspiring advancements in medical science, telecommunications, and even robotics.

Vein Finding Tool

what-is-a-vein-finderEchoNous Vein is designed for Nurses inserting peripheral IV catheters by providing an immediate and clear image of veins using just two-button controls. The easy-to-use device also includes optimized settings for use with adults and pediatrics.

“As it is often times the first interaction a patient has with care providers, a failed IV insertion not only holds up care from the beginning, but can impact a patient’s HCAHPS satisfaction survey. For both adults and pediatrics, our new vein finding tool was designed to help reduce ‘hard sticks’ and improve patient satisfaction,” said Kevin Goodwin, CEO of EchoNous. “Critical care Nurses understand the value of not only quickly locating a vein, but receiving reliable information about vessel quality, so we look forward to hearing their direct feedback how our vascular access tool does both, with the ease of a few on-screen touches.”

Stethee ‘smart’ stethoscope

The newly launched, FDA-cleared Stethee Pro features technology to capture and analyzeStethee heart and lung sounds and data via Bluetooth, operating around smartphone applications for both Apple iOS and Google Android devices.

“The Stethee system has the potential to transform healthcare. We are on the forefront of a new era in healthcare driven by artificial intelligence and its ability to significantly improve our ability to care for patients. This innovative technology can significantly help drive efficiency and productivity and empower healthcare providers worldwide by providing real time data and clinical interpretation" Dr. John Sperling of the Mayo Clinic said in a press release.

chip monitors blood sugar levels

105201127-Admetsys.530x298The company Admetsys has created a solution that can constantly monitor blood sugar levels in real time. Its artificial intelligence algorithm then triggers its software to either administer glucose or insulin via the drip that a patient is connected to. The drip is connected to a screen. The screen shows the metrics for the patient.

"It is a laboratory on a chip. This is what will be able to replace what is in the laboratory," Timothy Valk, co-founder of Admetsys, told CNBC.

"This device was suggested by Nurses. The Nurses' workload is astronomical. They need to be doing other things that are more appropriate for them, than running in and manually doing a glucose or drawing blood, their time is costly," Valk said.

patient monitoring system reducing fall rates

Hospitals are implementing the AvaSys TeleSitter video-observation system to improveavasys patient safety and lower staffing costs.

"The thing I was really skeptical about was, will this make a difference? But the [system] really does work in 99 percent of the cases. It's amazing when you see it in action" said Terry Olinger, President of the Hospitals and Clinics Acute Care Group at Benefis Health System.

The AvaSys room unit is offered in three options. A mobile cart, a portable wall-mounted unit or a permanent ceiling unit.  It lets a single monitor technician keep tabs via video on up to 12 patient rooms from a command center. The command center is located at Benefis in the patient flow center. The monitor tech can use the two-way audio to immediately intervene when a patient is at risk of self-harm, such as a fall. The monitor tech can talk to the patient to verbally redirect them. If the situation is emergent, the tech can activate an alarm and a Nurse will know to get there right away. Overall, AvaSys helps improve staffing efficiencies by allowing Nursing assistants to stay on the floor instead of watching patients 1:1.

Scheduling and staffing technology built for nurses, by nurses

Joe Novello is a Registered Nurse and wanted to create a scheduling solution specifically focused on the needs of his peers. So he founded NurseGrid in 2013.

With NurseGrid, Nurses are able to digitally “raise their hand” so hospital managers know they’re available for extra work, or they can signal that they’re not looking for shifts.

There are other companies in the Nurse scheduling space, including McKesson, Cerner Clairvia and GE Healthcare Centricity. Novello says the other products began as online software then moved to mobile, while NurseGrid was developed as a mobile app and has a better interface. His product also provides real-time shift changes, while other software is focused on time keeping and building schedules.

mobileThe future of Mobile Devices

Key findings from The Future of Healthcare: 2022 Hospital Vision Study

  • By 2020, usage of mobile devices is expected to grow by 40 percent for all hospital workers.
  • 98 percent of alarms or alerts from patient monitoring equipment, electronic health records (EHRs) and biomedical devices will be accessed through a mobile device by 2022.
  • In four years, 91 percent of Nurses could access EHR, medical and drug database references (92 percent), and lab diagnostic results (88 percent) using a mobile device.
  • The use of mobile technologies could reduce 46 percent of preventable medical errors and care issues caused by the breakdown of communication by 2022.
  • 77 percent of patients reported positive feelings toward clinicians using mobile devices in their care.
  • 95 percent of patients are willing to share electronic health metrics with clinicians.


3D printing

In medicine and healthcare, 3D printing could not only revolutionize drug creation and the production of medical equipment, but it could also offer new methods for practicing medicine, optimizing supply chains, and propose cheaper and more personalized medical services. So what are some good examples? Let's take a look.

Ian McHale, a senior at the US Steinert High School created a blueprint for producing finger splints.

Prosthetics and implants can be 3D printed. Dutch surgeons replaced the entire top of a 22 year–old woman’s skull with a customized printed implant made from plastic.

Scott Summit 3D printed a cast for himself, becoming perhaps the first patient ever to have acast3d shower with a cast on, but without a bunch of plastic bags wrapped around it. His physician could open and close the cast in seconds and it still held his wrist tightly. And it cost Scott around 50 dollars and a few hours to create.

A network of volunteers called the e-NABLING the Future project, share 3-D printing designs, video tutorials and other information about building prosthetic hands which enables volunteers, Doctors, Nurses or anyone in the field to make a difference by literally “giving a helping hand” to those in need.

Researchers at Harvard University were the first to use a custom–built 3D printer and a dissolving ink to create a swatch of tissue that contains skin cells interwoven with structural material that can potentially function as blood vessels in the future.

skinprintedJames Yoo at the Wake Forest School of Medicine in the US as well as researchers at the University of Madrid have developed the prototype of a 3D printer that can create synthetic skin. It is adequate for transplanting to patients, who suffered burn injuries or have other skin issues.

Organovo successfully bioprinted liver tissues already in 2014. They seemed to be 4-6 years away from printing liver parts for transplantation. Bioprinted livers could also be used in the pharmaceutical industry to replace animal models for analyzing the toxicity of new drugs. A few months ago, Organovo launched its second commercial product, bioprinted human kidney tissue. The company suggests that within a decade we will be able to print solid organs such as liver, heart, and kidney.

Last year, the FDA approved an epilepsy drug called Spritam that is made by 3D printers. Itprinted pills prints out the powdered drug layer by layer to make it dissolve faster than average pills.

The technological advancements happening in healthcare today are truly life changing for both providers and patients. Whether it's a 3D printer creating a model of a person's heart, or a chip monitoring a certain disease, there's no doubt the future of medicine is heading in an exciting direction. We look forward to hearing your thoughts and ideas on medical advancements.

Topics: new technology, Health Technology, medical technologies, health care technology

Are You an RN or NP? Participants Needed!

Posted by Kathlyn Khoukaz

Thu, May 24, 2018 @ 11:13 AM

transgender study

We received this request to help a doctoral student in psychology conduct her dissertation study on Nurses attitudes toward transgender individuals. Perhaps you can take a few minutes and help her?

I am conducting a study of attitudes toward transgender individuals, an important area of research to understand how to improve transgender healthcare.

  • Please consider participating if you are a licensed and practicing Registered Nurse or Nurse Practitioner over the age of 18
  • Interested participants are willing to take an anonymous, brief online assessment of attitudes and answer questions regarding feelings toward transgender individuals and clinical experiences.
  • The total time needed is ~15 minutes
  • Participation can occur by following this link:

https://mili2nd.co/fgib

If there are any questions about this study, please contact:
Kathlyn Khoukaz | (925) 331-0716 | kathlynkhoukaz@gmail.com
You may contact the IRB with questions or concerns at (856) 612-8384 | irb@nu.edu

Topics: transgender

Establishing a Diverse Workplace Culture

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Fri, May 18, 2018 @ 10:43 AM

diversityhands

Promoting diversity and inclusion within your workplace is one of the best ways to foster an open-minded company culture. When you have a diverse work force, they provide unique employee perspectives and when that work force mirrors the population of patients they're treating they can give you the patient's perspective as well. These insights should give you a better understanding of those colleagues and patients.

Operating any business in this day and age, especially a health system, requires a large degree of diversity within the organization to help provide culturally competent care to an ever growing and changing patient population. Larger well-organized health systems have entire teams dedicated to diversity and inclusion efforts.

Sometimes recruiting and hiring managers unconsciously target diverse candidates who act like the majority rather than seeking to bring true differences to their organization. When you hire people who think and act like you do, it is comfortable. You know what they look and sound like, and uniformity feels easier to manage. However, doing so stifles diversity, a sense of belonging and innovation. When people who all think alike come together, they consistently dream up similar solutions. High levels of innovation only happen when you leverage the insights of people who see the world differently.

Try to get feedback about the hiring process from the applicants themselves. They are the people who have experienced bias and cultural misunderstandings. They know how it feels and will have ideas about positive changes that can be made within the organization.  
 
It is highly recommended that your organization provide all employees with diversity training. Employees should understand that hiring decisions are based on finding the best candidate and not only based on quotas. The recruiting process should be transparent to help ease the minds of skeptical employees. Also, be sure managers fully understand the benefits of a diverse workplace. They will be implementing HR policies and should be fully committed to supporting the practice.
 
Treat others the way they want to be treated. Understanding how different cultures… perceive a handshake, handle eye contact, and deal with the boundaries of personal space, can help to avert misunderstandings. When in doubt, ask. If you accidentally cause offense, apologize. Be respectful of personal and cultural boundaries. Encourage your colleagues to do the same through your example as this will make your workplace more welcoming and productive for everyone.

For diversity to bring strength, it must be valued and integrated into company practices and philosophy. This takes time and a commitment to celebrate diversity. It requires the willingness to be open-minded and non-judgmental about the value of differences.

Topics: Diversity and Inclusion, diversity in healthcare, cultural diversity, diverse workplace culture

Healthcare Organizations Are Adding New Executive Roles

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Mon, May 14, 2018 @ 11:00 AM

healthcareexecsThe healthcare industry is constantly evolving, and with new services come new roles. Policies and regulations are always changing, new technologies are being used, and patient care is becoming more convenient for them with telehealth, transportation to medical appointments and increased access to health data.  Below you can learn more about some of the roles. 

Chief diversity and inclusion officer

The importance for healthcare organizations to have a Chief Diversity Officer on board has grown in the past 10 years as health systems have expanded and their patient populations have become more diverse.

Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officers main focus is to promote diversity and inclusion at the organization. Other responsibilities include vendor diversity and eliminating health disparities. Someone in this position should understand the health system's culture and its patient population. According to Modern Healthcare, providers argue that as they care for a larger and more diverse patient population—both inside and outside the hospital setting—a diverse workforce will help them better care for patients.

Population health executives

Population health management is becoming a central focus for more healthcare providers and many are considering adding a Chief Population Health Officer to the executive ranks.

Chief Population Health Officers are responsible for overall strategic direction and coordination of population health and care management. It is expected that a Physician would fill the role but, this Physician will have to have public health experience at a state or national level, have an advanced degree in business or health administration and have experience with team-based care.

Chief clinical officer

The demand for value-based care is growing and hospital executives are better aligning their services by hiring Chief Clinical Officers. This role is becoming clearly distinct from a traditional Chief Medical Officer.

The Chief Clinical Officer (CCO)  role takes on more of the patient engagement and clinical quality outcome work. They must understand lean performance requirements, a management style designed to reduce excess waste and care quality, be familiar with electronic health records as well as experience with the integration of quality data and, broadly, the ability to improve processes.

Physician leadership roles

As the hospital field tackles clinical integration, population health and performance improvement to drive transformational change, Physician leadership is crucial. Physician leaders should have exceptional people skills, be capable of communicating effectively and building trust across multidisciplinary groups. Management training and knowledge of leadership principles are also important.

Chief of staff

The Chief of Staff position has long been a fixture in the political arena as well as in the corporate world. It is fairly new but gaining favor in health care. Not to be confused with a Medical Chief of Staff, the organization’s Chief of Staff serves as the right hand of the CEO.

The health care Chief of Staff's duties depend on the CEO’s needs and what the organization demands of the Chief Executive. Responsibilities can encompass supporting internal operations and day-to-day management, as well as representing and even speaking for the organization in public and with external constituents. The Chief of Staff should fulfill high-level responsibilities befitting an executive.

According to Beckers Hospital Review, other executives, like Analytics Executives, Digital Executives, Technology Transfer Executives and Shared Services Executives are also on the rise.

New Call-to-action

Topics: healthcare organizations, executive roles

Nurse Shares Video That May Help You Quit Smoking

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Thu, May 03, 2018 @ 11:13 AM

smoking bannerNurse Amanda Eller in North Carolina shared this video comparing the lungs of a smoker with the lungs of a healthy patient. The damaged lungs belonged to a smoker who had smoked a pack of cigarettes a day for 20 years, Amanda wrote on Facebook.

The difference between the two sets of lungs is immediate before she even inflates them. 

As Eller explains in the video, the lungs collapse in a way not seen in the healthy set. She says, "The elastance is gone. So they will stretch out but then the recoil of them just snaps right back because there's nothing left to hold them open."

 

According to the American Lung AssociationEvery year in the U.S., more than 480,000 people die from tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke, making it the leading cause of preventable death in this country. Tragically, each day thousands of kids still pick up a tobacco product for the first time.

You know the old saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words”. Well this video is very powerful and conveys the damage done by smoking! Many Nurses see this kind of damage in the work they do, but many don’t. Please share with your colleagues and loved ones.

New Call-to-action

 

Topics: cigarettes, lungs, lung damage, quit smoking

How Health Systems Are Improving Their Diversity and Inclusion Efforts

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Fri, Apr 27, 2018 @ 10:52 AM

diversity-inclusion-respect-767x362@2xMajor health care giants like Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Massachusetts General Hospital have pledged to improve diversity recruitment of health workers. Reports showed a lack of diversity in hospitals and care discrepancies among patients. The hospitals plan to increase resources, hire executives focused on improving diversity and inclusion in their organizations, and more.

The lack of diversity in the healthcare workforce can impact patient care. Minority patients are more likely to seek out and follow advice from health professionals who look, sound, eat, worship and share the same cultural customs and values like they do. 

The U.S. population overall is changing and quite rapidly. In 2010, the number of residents age 5 and older speaking a language other than English at home had climbed 158% to 59.5 million from 23.1 million in 1980, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. By 2044, more than half the nation is expected to be made up of minority races or groups, according to a 2015 Census Bureau report.

Yet, statistics show healthcare isn't keeping pace with population changes. Minorities made up just 14% of hospital boards and only 11% of executive leadership positions in 2015, according to a survey from the American Hospital Association's Institute for Diversity in Health Management. This disparity exists even though minorities represent roughly 30% to 35% of patients in hospitals.

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute officials told Becker's Hospital Review they plan to hire a leader for diversity programs, and will require all faculty and administration to complete a bias awareness workshop, among other initiatives, as part of the institution's 2018 strategic plan.

Dianne Austin, workforce diversity program manager at Massachusetts General Hospital, told Healthcare Dive, "Mass General has an orientation where new employees attend a program on diversity and inclusion and learn about various resources available to employees, such as a citizenship program, careers days and school admissions officers. There are also multiple staff committees focused on improving diversity and inclusion."

Akron Children's Hospital supports a program that aims to improve Nursing diversity. The program's plan is to increase the number of interns in the program and provide tuition support during their senior year of college. The hope is that program participants will return to Akron Children's after graduation to begin their Nursing career.

 "Nursing diversity is vital to ensuring a positive experience for our patients," said William Considine, CEO of Akron Children's Hospital. "Not only does this program provide a valuable educational experience, it also helps Akron Children's recruit more prepared Nurses and helps our workforce reflect the diversity of the patients, families and communities we serve."

UC Health intends to contribute $1.5 million to create University of Cincinnati scholarships designed to diversify the medical profession. The hospital system hopes the scholarships will help all local health systems diversify their workforce when hiring doctors, Nurses, pharmacists and medical technicians. 

“We know through recent research that underrepresented adults in Cincinnati believe their race negatively impacts their treatment from medical professionals,” said Dr. Rick Lofgren, CEO of UC Health. “This investment is a step to improve health care for all of our patients and to foster a health care workforce that reflects the diversity of our population.”

Diversity & Inclusion initiatives can be difficult to sustain, but commitment to increasing D&I at all levels of your organization will bring new perspectives and values to your hospital/health system, which can help decrease health disparities across the board. Bravo to the healthcare leaders that are seriously acting on their D&I initiatives! Do you see progress in this area where you work or teach?

 New Call-to-action

Topics: Diversity and Inclusion, chief diversity officer, hospital diversity, diverse workforce, diversity recruitment

Culturally Competent Care For LGBTQ Patients

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Fri, Apr 20, 2018 @ 02:25 PM

sc-fam-lgbtq-health-care-0220Healthcare organizations strive to provide culturally competent care for individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer (LGBTQ). Recent changes in society, including the legalization of gay marriage have raised public awareness of LGBTQ issues. Yet many healthcare professionals lack knowledge in some areas when caring for LGBTQ patients.

As a gay man who is raising a young son with his husband, Michael Johnson, PhD, RN, understands the barriers faced by LGBTQ patients and the assumption often made by nurses and other healthcare professionals that all patients are heterosexual.

“Some members of the LGBTQ community avoid seeking healthcare services because of previous negative experiences in which they faced discrimination,” said Johnson, an assistant professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, School of Nursing. “Studies have shown most LGBTQ patients want to be able to share their sexual orientation or gender identity with their healthcare provider, but are often reluctant to open up because they fear they may be treated badly or even refused care."

LGBTQ individuals have a long history of discrimination at the individual and institutional levels, including the healthcare system. They may check to see if the environment is a safe place to reveal personal information, especially about sexuality. Some things an individual may take note of during their time in your waiting room area include:

  • Your organization’s nondiscrimination policy: Is it in a visible location?
  • A rainbow flag, pink triangle, or other symbol of inclusiveness
  • Availability of unisex restrooms
  • Health education literature with diverse images and inclusive language, including information about LGBTQ health
  • Posters announcing days of observance such as World AIDS Day, Pride, and National Transgender Day of Remembrance

To understand LGBTQ populations and their health needs, it is important to first define the distinct core concepts of sexual orientation and gender identity. You can read about key LGBTQ terms here.

LGBTQ health requires specific attention from health care and public health professionals to address a number of disparities, including:

  • LGBT youth are 2 to 3 times more likely to attempt suicide.
  • LGBT youth are more likely to be homeless.
  • Lesbians are less likely to get preventive services for cancer.
  • Gay men are at higher risk of HIV and other STDs, especially among communities of color.
  • Lesbians and bisexual females are more likely to be overweight or obese.
  • Transgender individuals have a high prevalence of HIV/STDs, victimization, mental health issues, and suicide and are less likely to have health insurance than heterosexual or LGB individuals.
  • Elderly LGBT individuals face additional barriers to health because of isolation and a lack of social services and culturally competent providers.
  • LGBT populations have the highest rates of tobacco, alcohol, and other drug use.
 
lgbtq quote
Nurses should avoid asking any unnecessary questions. People are sometimes curious about LGBTQ people and their lives, which can lead them to want to learn more by asking the patient questions. However, like everyone else, LGBTQ people want to keep their medical and personal lives private. Before asking any personal questions, first ask yourself: “Is my question necessary for the patient’s care, or am I asking it for my own curiosity?" If for your own curiosity, it is not appropriate to ask. Think instead about: “What do I know? What do I need to know? How can I ask for the information I need to know in a sensitive way?"

Effectively serving LGBTQ patients requires you to understand the cultural context of their lives, and to modify your procedures, behavior, and language to be inclusive, non-judgmental, and helpful at all times. By doing this, healthcare staff can help ensure that LGBTQ patients receive the level of care that everyone deserves. What helpful information can you add regarding this topic?

sign up for newsletter

Topics: LGBTQ, LGBTQ Healthcare, cultural competency, LGBTQ health disparities, culturally competent care

Click me

Article or Blog Submissions

If you are interested in submitting content for our Blog, please ensure it fits the criteria below:
  • Relevant information for Nurses
  • Does NOT promote a product
  • Informative about Diversity, Inclusion & Cultural Competence

Agreement to publish on our DiversityNursing.com Blog is at our sole discretion.

Thank you

Subscribe to Email our eNewsletter

Recent Posts

Posts by Topic

see all