Legal / Ethical | Nursing Practices | Uncategorized

LGBTQ Cultural Competency – Providing Inclusive Care

  • LGBTQ cultural competency in nursing relates to awareness of patient’s lived experiences and respecting those experiences as you navigate their plan of care.  
  • Demonstrating inclusive care competence in nursing includes conducting an assessment, analyzing various considerations, and ultimately demonstrating or accommodating those beliefs throughout your nursing practice.  
  • Author, Sadia Arshad, has some insight on ways to be a more inclusive nurse.  

Sadia Arshad


May 27, 2022
Simmons University

Nurses are the front of patient care, yet many are not given guidance on how to provide inclusive care to LGBTQ patients.  

Even well before nursing school, I heard of nurses and the health care system overall struggling with understanding LGBTQ health and the needs of the LGBT community.

I also heard that many LGBTQ patients struggled with accessing care, experiencing LGBTQ cultural competency care, paying for health care, and being respected from health care overall.  

I was shocked to learn that, even in the most progressive of health places or institutions, there was still a ton of stigma and uncertainty around how to provide inclusive care to LGBTQ patients. 

As a sexual health educator turned nurse, I entered the world of nursing as a second-career nurse with experience in public health and education.  

So, this Pride Month, I’m going to share LGBTQ cultural competency education on providing inclusive care to LGBTQ patients, regardless of the work setting in which you work.  

First, let’s define the acronym LGBTQ 

L – lesbian  

  • a woman attracted to another woman 

G – gay 

  • a man attracted to another man  

B – bisexual  

  • a person attracted to men and women 

T – trans/gender diverse 

  • someone whose gender identity or expression does not align with their sex assigned at birth 

Q – queer 

  • someone who is not heterosexual 

    Let’s also add in some other identities!

    I – Intersex  

    A – asexual  

    • someone who does not experience sexual attraction


    LGBTQ cultural competency education

    Importance of LGBTQ Cultural Competency

    Let’s talk about why this is important. Most of us were raised in societies where we were taught that men should only be with women, women only with men, and anything outside of this is unacceptable.  

    Fast forward to 2022 and many places in America now have legislation where it is legal to terminate employment, deny health care, deny housing, and more to LGBTQ people.  

    LGBTQ patients are in every health care setting. LGBT patients seek all sorts of health care. From hospitals to clinics, knowing LGBTQ cultural competency practices and providing inclusive care improves patient health outcomes, makes you a more inclusive nurse, and works out for everyone.  

    When thinking why you should provide inclusive care to LGBT patients, I want you to think about why you became a nurse. Why you decided to care about people. And what are you willing to learn and grow from as you continue to practice in healthcare.  

    I want you to think about the stigmas that LGBTQ people face daily as a result for being different, unwanted, and often, unwelcome.  


    LGBTQ Cultural comptency benefits

    LGBTQ Cultural Competency Practices

    This Pride Month, it is time for a change. 

    Here are some ways you can increase your own LGBTQ cultural competency with patients:

    Question Oneself

    How do you feel about LGBT people? Truthfully, if you do not feel comfortable with LGBT people, it is going to be very difficult to provide inclusive care to LGBT people.  

    If you are uncomfortable with LGBT people, ask yourself why that is and what you would be willing to do to address this bias. Does your workplace offer LGBTQ cultural competency trainings? Does your workplace offer education on LGBTQ implicit bias?

    Make No Assumptions

    I have heard people say that they suspect this person is gay or that person is bisexual without having any of that confirmed by the patient and having no relevancy in patient care.  

    If you are taking care of someone for a kidney stone, do you also need to know about their sexuality? Whether it is about race, gender, sexual orientation, health history, or something else, assumptions have no place if you want to practice LGBTQ cultural competency.  

    Reach Out To One’s Employer

    What trainings or programs does your employer have about LGBTQ Cultural competency? If you are taking mandatory training for your employer, inquire about any LGBTQ cultural competency and inclusivity training.  

    If nothing is mandatory, take it upon yourself to take LGBTQ cultural competency courses like this one, and implicit bias trainings from your favorite nursing ceu provider. 

    Talk to the Patient Like They Are a Regular Person

    If you are unsure about a person’s sexual orientation, pronouns, gender identity, or anything else, ask the patient.  

    Part of practicing LGBTQ cultural competency is the ability to develop a rapport with that patient and establish trust.



    LGBTQ Cultural comptency care

    The Bottom Line

    Increasing one’s awareness and LGBTQ cultural competency education is a step in the right direction.

    Nurses are the most trusted profession for a reason, and it is time that we work together to make LGBT people feel safer and more welcome in health care settings.

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