Effective LGBTQIA+ Education for Healthcare Providers

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Roughly 7.1% of U.S. adults identify as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, and those 23 million people represent a major patient pool for the healthcare industry. Unfortunately, recent survey data shows that more than 50% of LGBTQIA+ adults report receiving sub-standard care as a result of implicit and explicit biases, a lack of training, and limited access to relevant services.

Negative experiences at the hands of healthcare professionals can have an incredibly detrimental impact on the health and wellness of vulnerable populations, and they affect every aspect of the healthcare relationship. Poor interactions can lead to communication difficulties, resistance to seeking treatment, and ineffective care protocols—all of which can have dramatic and long-lasting downstream effects for the entire LGBTQIA+ community.

The key to achieving better outcomes and building stronger relationships with the community is through effective LGBTQIA+ education for healthcare providers. Courses like  Anti-Discriminatory Practice as Cultural Competence with LGBTQIA+ Patient Populations can equip professionals in all roles to understand their biases, break down barriers to care, and provide valuable insight into the latest science-backed trends. By harnessing knowledge, healthcare professionals can forge stronger bonds with their LGBTQIA+ patients and create better outcomes for everyone in the system.

LGBTQIA+ Education for Healthcare Providers Needs to Be Accessible

Continuing education is the cornerstone of developing healthcare professionals who can offer culturally sensitive, up-to-date, evidence-based care in their practice. While many in the industry understand and appreciate the importance of continuing education, finding the time and tapping into reliable sources are some of the greatest barriers. Yes, it’s a professional obligation in most states, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to navigate in practice!

One of the simplest ways to begin addressing these gaps in knowledge is through online continuing education. These resources empower doctors, nurses, administrative staff, and leadership to access the information they need from any screen, work at their own pace, and gain the skills it takes to make a difference on a timeline that fits their busy schedule.

Additionally, the latest technologies used in professional continuing education have dramatically elevated the quality of online learning. While web-based content has historically meant reading long, boring PDFs, today’s top creators utilize audio scripts, embedded video content, and interactive components that offer much more informative and engaging experiences while providing greater accessibility.

Developing Inclusive Practices

The overarching theme of LGBTQIA+ education for healthcare professionals is to move in the direction of inclusivity and expanding access to care. That means focusing on best practices and developing a workforce that is acutely aware of conscious and unconscious biases that alienate people seeking care.

Research-backed practices have affirmed that one of the most important starting points is empowering healthcare professionals with inclusive language skills. Using respectful and affirming language as it relates to someone's gender or sexual identity sets the stage for mutually respectful conversation—and that’s a critical starting point for bringing LGBTQIA+ populations into the system.

Another great way to support inclusivity is to think beyond the binary. Many people are used to society’s dual perspective on sex and gender, but LGBTQIA+ patients face unique mental and physical health risks that fit inside their gender expression in a way that is unique to them.

This can be particularly challenging in the presence of gender expression that does not match a patient’s gender identity at birth. While healthcare professionals need to maintain their due diligence in the management of a patient’s health risks, it can be done sensitively and respectfully. This communicates a healthcare provider’s responsibility to be thorough in the best interest of the patient.

Current, Evidence-Based Training

Every healthcare professional knows that the treatments and interventions provided to patients are ever-evolving, and delivering the best care possible means arming professionals throughout the system with the most recent and impactful information possible. This includes advancements in research, new cultural developments and trends, and best practices for meeting LGBTQIA+ patients where they are and escorting them through the system.

LGBTQIA+ educational content must reflect the community’s needs and it should include population-specific guidelines that align with recommendations from reliable sources. National authorities on health like the CDC and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) offer a wealth of current information and provide listings of additional LGBTQIA+ organizations with helpful information.

Equally important is the development of evidence-based continuing education content that is highly accessible, accredited, and included in the state licensing requirements for healthcare professionals. Although it can seem subjective in popular culture, LGBTQIA+ best practices are supported by robust research and data, and that means these skills are repeatable and effective.

Leadership and Advocacy

Adult learning theory tells us that people won’t learn things they don’t see as important—even professionals. That means long-term engagement with the LGBTQIA+ community needs to be an institutional priority that’s supported at every level.

Changing the status quo starts with communicating why learning this information is so important on both institutional and individual levels. LGBTQIA+ education for healthcare providers needs to make it clear that, without culturally sensitive and inclusive care, these populations will experience worse outcomes, and articulate how each employee can make a difference.

The consequences of inaction are not just personal—they impact every aspect of an institution’s health. A lack of engagement represents a competitive financial liability, and that in turn reduces the effectiveness of the care a healthcare facility can provide to all its patients. Continuing education for LGBTQIA+ issues should be viewed as an investment that pays for itself many times over by producing facilities that can serve more people in addition to fulfilling the ideals of the healthcare profession.

Effective LGBTQIA+ Education for Healthcare Providers is a Critical Next Step

The health disparities experienced by the LGBTQIA+ community are an ongoing challenge that continues to create detrimental health outcomes. Evidence-based, easy-to-access LGBTQIA+ education for healthcare providers is the best, fastest way to close the gap.

Premiere is committed to delivering award-winning online CE content for healthcare professionals. Courses like Anti-Discriminatory Practice as Cultural Competence with LGBTQIA+ Patient Populations by Brian Masciadrelli PhD, LICSW, LMSW are perfect for setting the foundation by allowing the learner to recognize the impact of discrimination, oppression, and stigmatization on the health outcomes of LGBTQIA+ persons.

All content by Premiere is created by industry-leading experts in the field of continuing education and professional development, and it’s designed especially for working professionals who need flexibility to meet their professional obligations.

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