Perspectives on inadequate preparation and training priorities for physicians working with sexual minority youth

Int J Med Educ. 2021 Oct 27;12:186-194. doi: 10.5116/ijme.615c.25d3.

Abstract

Objectives: To understand pediatric and family medicine residents' and practitioners' perceived ability to work with lesbian, gay, bisexual, and queer (LGBQ) youth, assessment of their prior educational experiences, and recommendations for medical training to better prepare physicians to provide quality care to this population.

Methods: We conducted semi-structured individual interviews with 24 pediatric/family medicine residents (n=20) and practicing physicians (n=4) in the U.S. Recorded interviews were professionally transcribed. Data were analyzed using Grounded Theory and qualitative content analysis approaches.

Results: Most physicians did not feel adequately prepared to provide quality care to LGBQ youth, and many who felt knowledgeable obtained their knowledge from on-the-job experiences of caring for LGBQ patients. Findings regarding physicians' recommendations for implementing a formal training program revealed three themes: (I) medical school training (implemented earlier in medical school within a structured program as part of the normal curriculum), (II) training content (LGBQ-specific health needs, self-awareness of implicit biases, interviewing techniques, and resources), and (III) training strategies (panels of LGBQ patients, role-playing/standardized patients, and online modules).

Conclusions: Understanding physicians' assessment of abilities and recommendations for training improvements based on their experiences is important for advancing the quality of healthcare for LGBQ youth. Guidance came mostly from residents who recently completed medical school. Thus, their perspectives are especially useful to improve medical education and, ultimately, the care provided to LGBQ youth. Findings suggest a multi-pronged approach that offers several training modalities encompassing individual, intrapersonal, and institutional/systemic/community levels can improve medical school curricula on caring for LGBQ youth.

Keywords: adolescent; family medicine; pediatric; qualitative; sexual minority.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Bisexuality
  • Child
  • Female
  • Gender Identity
  • Homosexuality, Female*
  • Humans
  • Physicians*
  • Sexual and Gender Minorities*