Improving lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning health: Using a standardized patient experience to educate advanced practice nursing students

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Journal of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners


Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning (LGBTQ) persons account for 3.5% of the population. Nursing programs in the United States provide a median of 2.13 hours of formal content regarding LGBTQ health, which contributes to iatrogenic barriers to care. Patient experiences related to inadequate provider preparation include misguided treatment strategies, impedance of communication, and abuse. A pilot educational project was developed to provide advanced practice nursing (APRN) students meaningful clinical interactions with LGBTQ-identifying standardized patients (SPs) to better prepare them to care for LGBTQ patients with cultural humility. This project was determined to be Exempt by the Institutional Review Board at the University of Michigan. Implemented in an advanced health assessment course with 99 APRN students, components of the project included course readings, lecture content, laboratory activities, an SP experience, and both large and small debriefing sessions. The SP experience itself was a 15-minute clinical encounter with a patient presenting with "abdominal pain," with an emphasis on history-taking, communication, and cultural humility. Qualitative data analysis was performed using the constant comparison method to interpret the results from student evaluations and other written feedback. This pilot project has promise to inform future educational offerings and set the standard for LGBTQ health content and application for APRN students. Further research is needed to evaluate the quality of LGBTQ content in APRN curricula to improve the ability of APRN students to provide care to LGBTQ patients.

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