Nurses' work with LGBTQ patients: "they're just like everybody else, so what's the difference"?

Can J Nurs Res. 2012 Sep;44(3):44-63.


Informed by critical feminist and queer studies approaches, this article explores nurses' perceptions of practice with patients who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer (LGBTQ). Qualitative in-depth, semi-structured interviews with 12 nurses in Halifax, Nova Scotia, illuminate a range of approaches to practice. Most commonly, participants argued that differences such as sexual orientation and gender identity do not matter: Everyone should be treated as a unique individual. Participants seemed anxious to avoid discriminating or stereotyping by avoiding making any assumptions. They were concerned not to offend patients through their language or actions. When social difference was taken into account, the focus was often restricted to sexual health, though some participants showed complex understandings of oppression and marginalization. Distinguishing between generalizations and stereotypes may assist nurses in their efforts to recognize social differences without harming LGBTQ patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Bisexuality / psychology*
  • Fear / psychology
  • Female
  • Homosexuality, Female / psychology*
  • Homosexuality, Male / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic / methods
  • Male
  • Nurse-Patient Relations
  • Nursing Methodology Research
  • Nursing Staff / psychology*
  • Qualitative Research
  • Sexism / psychology
  • Transgender Persons / psychology*
  • Young Adult