Successfully addressing sensitive topics, such as homophobia and LGBTQ+ biases, is best achieved in small, interactive groups, clinical nurse scientists said in a quality improvement project report published in the Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing.

Using a Plan, Do, Study, Act design, the nurse scientists, including ONS members Stephanie Russell, BSN, RN, OCN®, and Nancy Corbitt, BSN, RN, OCN®, developed an evidence-based, oncology-tailored cultural competency training program and delivered it to 110 healthcare staff in small groups of 15 or fewer participants. The training involved videos, interactive exercises, and class discussion about assessing bias, increasing health knowledge, creating a safe environment, and adapting to LGBTQ+ health needs. Trainers emphasized:

  • Allowing and encouraging patient self-identification and open communication
  • Providing support and resources tailored to individual needs rather than a one-size-fits-all approach
  • Using nongendered terms and phrases, nonjudgmental mannerisms, and seeing the patient as a whole person

Participants completed a survey pre- and post-training. After the training, they were significantly more likely to agree with four statements:

  • “Organizations should make their bathrooms accessible to gender-variant patients/families and staff.”
  • “I am likely to intervene in a homophobic interaction at work.”
  • “I am confident in asking gender identity questions that are appropriate to my job.”
  • “I am confident in my ability to provide appropriate LGBTQ+ resources for my clients and patients.”

“This interprofessional approach is key to developing a more culturally competent healthcare system,” the nurse scientists concluded.

Find more ideas to develop your cultural competency and provide inclusive, compassionate care on ONS Voice.