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Moving toward LGBT Equality in Healthcare

The current ANS featured article explores the complex issues involved in overcoming homonegativity in healthcare.  The article titled “Cues-to-Action in Initiating Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender-Related Policies Among Magnet Hospital Chief Nursing Officers: A Demographic Assessment” is by Ralph Klotzbaugh, PhD, RN, APRN and Gale Spencer, PhD, RN. Dr. Klotzbaugh provided this background related to the article:

I started doing this research as a result of reviewing the Human Rights Campaign’s annual Healthcare Equality Index that looks at protective policies for patients and employees that identify as LGBT. The year I looked at must have been

Ralph Klotzbaugh

Ralph Klotzbaugh

around 2012. The end of the HEI puts together a list of participating medical institutions and their scores from the policy survey. I started perusing this list and began to notice two things that really surprised me. First, not all Magnet designated hospitals had responded to the survey (the survey is voluntary) and of those Magnet designated hospitals that had responded to the survey, many had few if any protective policies in place. I had assumed Magnet would require lgbt specific policies and was disappointed to find out that indeed they had not.

As I worked through the development and analysis of this study, I started thinking through some larger questions of the nursing profession and what it might mean to future nursing research. Mainly, how will nurses gain or improve administrative authority? Further, how might nurses use our insights to the social/political/economic conditions faced by the patients that we care for in influencing these administrative changes?

I believe these questions are of particular importance to nursing. Regardless of where our practice has taken us, we all started out at the bedside caring for patients. Caring for patients. It is time for our profession to recognize the value of caring, not only as it relates most importantly to the treatment of all patients as well as our colleagues, but to how this necessarily has to inform policy, politics, and administration.   I hope my research contributes toward developing a better sense of the problem and the directions that we might take as nurses. I look forward to continuing my research in my new position as Assistant Professor at University of Massachusetts, Boston. Finally, I would like to thank my coauthor Gale Spencer at Binghamton University who made the space for me to do LGBT specific work, and for others to follow.

This article is available for download at no cost while it is featured on the ANS web site, so read it now, and come back here to share your comments and responses!

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