Skip to main content
3 answers
Updated 417 views

How would you Treat an LGBTQ+ / POC in the health industry

The reason i ask this is because It is 2022 and the Medical Industry still treat there LGBTQ+ /POC nurse community with utmost disrespect by staff and patients which i find very hurtful why is that they cannot be treated with respect also .

Thank you comment icon This is an amazing question on an important topic that's close to my heart! I don't work in the health industry but I'm interested in reading the responses that you get :) Gurpreet Lally, Admin
Thank you comment icon Hi Brianna! This is a FANTASTIC question! You have identified a very legitimate (and I'm sure frustrating) problem in the healthcare industry at large. Regardless of the advice you receive, I want to make sure you feel ENCOURAGED and EMPOWERED to pursue a career in healthcare. There are many strong, young Black women working in healthcare whom I hope you are able to hear from on CarereVillage. There are people working to promote and enforce equity in the healthcare field every single day, and I want to make sure you know that CareerVillage is here to support you in your career journey. Alexandra Carpenter, Admin
Thank you comment icon An incredibly valid and important question, Brianna! I'm looking forward to reading advice from healthcare professionals come in. yoonji KIM, Admin

+25 Karma if successful
From: You
To: Friend
Subject: Career question for you


3 answers

Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

yerenis’s Answer

Hi, Brianna. Great question!
Well, to start out first, I am a POC and part of the LGBTQ+ community. When becoming a nurse, I made sure to educate myself with the struggles and what changes could be done once I began working for my hospital. Prior to receiving my AA in college, I made sure to take on a lot of Sociology classes to educate myself with the different cultures, behaviors, and differences out there. I ended up getting my AA in Social and Behavioral Sciences.
As a nurse, Ive done my best to get involved and advocate for patients as such as well. Nobody, no matter what color or sexuality, should be ever discriminated. ALL patients matter, even when their actions, cultures, beliefs or struggles don't align with yours.
One thing some nurses make, is bringing in their biases and beliefs to work. Everybody has to remember, when helping/caring for a patient, it is very important to leave your personal biases and disbeliefs before walking into your hospital. Ive seen way too many nurses show ignorance beforehand and disrespecting patients because their patients' beliefs weren't up to par with theirs.
Protecting lives and caring for people in need should be the oath a nurse should ALWAYS stick to. No matter what. If not, personally, I think, becoming a nurse is pointless if you are not going to respect the nurse's Oath you will be taking after graduating from nursing school.
EVERY human life should be valued and respected. Especially those communities who are still having to fight for their rights.
Thank you comment icon yerenis, thank you! River
Thank you comment icon Love this answer, Yerenis!! Thanks so much for sharing all of this. I'm glad the Student is able to hear from someone who is a member of both communities mentioned Alexandra Carpenter, Admin
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

Tricia’s Answer


Thank you for talking about this.

My Master of Science in Nursing Education degree final course was focused on adding implicit (unconscious) bias awareness activities to the undergraduate nursing curriculum. I have spent hours researching nursing care disparities and health care disparities (unfair treatment to people in populations based on only their belonging to a certain group/population ). The research is new, and difficult to measure, but it's on the radar big time. The hopeful component is that good people are out there trying to improve the situation.

Bias means an "inclination". It is based on learning. Decisions people make are based on their experiences, and sometimes we make decisions based on things we didn't even know we were including in the decision-making process. It happens automatically. That is what implicit (unconscious) bias means. Sometimes people value equitable treatment, but still treat other people differently simply because of the population they belong to. It is a complex, and serious issue in health CARE causing people in at-risk populations to receive unfair treatment. There is no magic cure.

To be clear, I am not talking about explicit or overt bias. Where people are aware they have negative attitudes/bias/prejudice toward a person/or group based on assumptions, absolutely no fact or individualization is considered. Though this is not tolerable at any level anywhere, and certainly needs to be eradicated, it is not what is causing issues within healthcare.

Another to be clear, some people, because of a commonality - immunocompromised for example, are at greater health risks, like infections.
What I'm referring to is health CARE, how health-related anything is delivered.

Doctors and nurses spend less time with people, don't offer the same teaching, don't listen as well, don't consider alternatives (therapies, causes, diagnoses), are more disrespectful, don't deliver the same pain management care, and don't believe. Jeez, that's hard to accept, but it's true.

It is implicit bias that is causing these unfair situations - and people who identify and belong to the groups LGBTQ+ and BIPOC are absolutely affected. As are the groups of people who are identified by or identify with: age, gender, race, ethnicity, weight, addiction, serious mental illness, emotional/physical disabilities, and ... the list goes on. Decisions made under duress, involve the amygdala - which is working on the flight/fight/freeze framework and is unable to accept input from other areas of the brain and then this worsens the effect of implicit bias.

Study after study identifies unfair treatment and here's what I've learned in how to treat people more fairly.

Before interactions: We must fiercely look at our own biases and strive to improve ourselves - starting with acceptance and awareness. It helps.
During interactions: We cannot understand what everyone else is going through. We can ask.
After interactions: We cannot do everything right every time. We can think about what we did and why, and come up with a plan to do better next time.

You will notice that I did not answer your question regarding the nurse role specifically - this is because these biases are applied to groups at every level. Each has its own deplorable effects whether nurse to nurse, nurse to doctor, doctor to patient, patient to a social worker, outside of healthcare - bias is bias.

I believe people who belong to a health at-risk population -
must be placed first to reduce the risk of their health CARE risks.

Tricia recommends the following next steps:

Consider going to the Harvard Implicit Attitudes Test site. Legitimacy is in question about these, but it is a great starting point to reflect on your own attitudes.
Review your social group - be the Covid as it may - and objectively look at the diversity. One way to improve understanding others' experiences is "proximity". Go, do, meet, learn, smile, enjoy, breathe, accept, respect,
We can work on our emotional health to keep the amygdala out of decision-making so we are using our frontal cortex to make conscious decisions. Practice mindfulness to train your brain to focus, concentrate, eliminate extraneous thought, to be in control your emotions...
Make SMART goals related to reflective thinking: What happened? What did I think was causing it? How did I react? What really caused it? What are alternatives for causing it? What was the outcome? How did the other person feel? What did they think happened? How do I know? What could I have found out that would have helped? What would I like to have had happen? How can I make that a possibility? What can I do to improve (practice) ? What should I remember to improve (learn)?
Read Desiderata - "With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful/cheerful. Strive to be happy. "
Thank you comment icon Very thorough, Tricia! Implicit bias is a super important concept in this space, so I'm glad you mentioned it. Alexandra Carpenter, Admin
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

Joseph’s Answer

This is not really my sector, but I'll try to answer and throw in my penny's-worth.

Ideally, those groups should be treated exactly the same as any other set of people.
In some cases, that might actually be part of the explanation. I'm aware that the nursing community in general are often treated very badly, and some instances of the poor treatment you allude to might have nothing to do with race, gender, or orientation; but simply a result of the job role. This shouldn't really be the case - everyone should be treated respectfully; but the unfortunate reality is that doctors and others look down on nurses as they think of them as much lower qualified; and some patients treat nurses poorly expecting them to act as their personal servants - especially on your "side of the pond" where they (or their insurance) is paying so much for medical care and therefore creating unrealistic expectations of care.

However, I'm aware there's more to it than that; there is disproportionately poor treatment people of different racial background, LGBTQ+ statuses, disability, or other minorities. Again, this shouldn't be the case, and if coming from staff, it isn't acceptable in this day and age - so if you're aware of it in a particular place, they probably have a system for reporting unacceptable behaviour - you should consider raising the issue via the appropriate channel.
Patients however are a different matter. Mistreatment still isn't acceptable, but there's certainly still elements of racism and other prejudices around, especially in the older generations. It might be 2022 now but there are still people that grew up in the culture of the 1950s and 60s. That's a difficult situation that I don't know if there's any easy answers to.