Integrating Sexual Minority Health Issues into a Health Assessment Class

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Journal of Professional Nursing


Nursing education, Health assessment, Curriculum content, Undergraduate nursing, LGBT persons


The health needs of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) population are traditionally overlooked by the health care community and are rendered invisible by most nursing school curricula. Initial contact with a nurse during a health history and assessment can have an impact on whether the person will feel comfortable disclosing his or her identity, returning for services, or following plans of care. Because the first interaction with a nurse can be critical, the health assessment course is an appropriate place in the curriculum to discuss the needs of the LGBT community. This article includes a discussion of unique health risks to the LGBT population, benefits, and challenges of incorporating these issues into the classroom and recommendations for including the care of this population into a health assessment nursing course. Specific communication techniques are provided that may be helpful during history taking and physical examination with a patient who is LGBT. Guidance regarding physical examination of the transgender patient is also included. These suggestions will be helpful to nurse faculty who teach health assessment, nursing students, educators who design and implement professional development and continuing education for established nurses, preceptors in the clinical setting, and any nurse who is unfamiliar with the needs and concerns specific to the LGBT population.


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