More than 250 Bluefield State University nursing students and health care professionals attended a recent seminar devoted to the importance of affirmative and Inclusive health care for the LGBTQ people. Scott Pitt, chair of LGBTQ initiatives at BSU, Julie Orr, BSU Associate Professor of Nursing, and a BSU School of Nursing and Allied Health planning committee collaborated in preparing and presenting the program. The session included a roundtable discussion by members of the LGBTQ community, who talked about the hurdles and barriers they have encountered while trying to access health care.
Each academic program in the BSU School of Nursing & Allied Health has learning objectives that involve preparing students for culturally-competent care to patients in various stages of the lifespan, according to Orr. “As a division, we recognized that we were not adequately preparing our students to care for members of the LGBTQ community,” she explained. “Instead of assigning reading material, we wanted students to understand and appreciate the human experience of LGBTQ individuals.
Visiting a health care facility can make people nervous for numerous reasons, including the discomfort of revealing sensitive information and health concerns to avoid the possibility of being stigmatized by health care providers. “Better outcomes happen with better intervention, reducing bias for equal and fair access to health care,” Pitt stated.
“We are very appreciative of the individuals who participated in the panel discussion,” Orr added. “By willingly sharing their life experiences, they greatly enhanced our students’ understanding of the vital importance of cultural sensitivity and awareness in the delivery of health care."