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Celebration of Scholarship and Creative Activity 2021

Culturally Sensitive Care in the Clinic: Understanding LGBTQIA+ Healthcare Best Practice Methods in Wisconsin’s Fox Valley Area Clinics

Becca Birriel

Senior, Nursing

Abstract

Healthcare providers are struggling to develop and implement culturally affirming and informed health care for LGBTQIA+ people. Currently, in Wisconsin, there are only three clinics that offer culturally affirming LGBTQIA+ healthcare services, none of which are found in the Fox Valley region of Wisconsin (Appleton, Neenah, Menasha, Oshkosh, & Kaukauna). The specific research question that will be addressed in this study is “What LGBTQIA+ healthcare best practice methods are clinics in the Fox Valley area applying to their practice and how can these methods be improved to decrease LGBTQIA+ healthcare discrepancies? Specifically, do clinics offer LGBTQIA+ services, and are their intake forms, clinic environments, and staff education requirements following best practice guidelines?” A 30 question Qualtrics survey was sent to providers in the Fox Valley region of Wisconsin that asked about the clinic’s environment, intake forms, and specific LGBTQIA+ services that are offered. Following data collection, means were calculated; averages depicted how well clinics in the Fox Valley area were meeting LGBTQIA+ healthcare needs. This data offers clinical significance because results show where clinics need to adjust their LGBTQIA+ practices to provide culturally competent care that will increase LGBTQIA+ access to healthcare and decease healthcare disparities in the area.

Project Background 

I am a nursing major at UWO and have worked in healthcare in the Fox Valley region for the past year as a certified nursing assistant (CNA). In addition, I identify within the LGBTQIA+ community and am actively involved on campus as a part of an LGBTQIA+ advocacy organization. In my time working in the hospital, I noticed a lack of LGBTQIA+ training for providers and a lack of culturally competent care being delivered. I had also done research on LGBTQIA+ healthcare providers in the Fox Valley region and struggled to find one to fit my needs. This led me to my research question. My job as a nurse will be to advocate for my patients, so I saw my research as an opportunity to advocate for patients like me and help local clinics develop culturally competent care. This research has played a big role in my senior year and has really helped me gain confidence as a leader and advocate. I am proud that I get to contribute to the local healthcare clinics and improve care for an underrepresented population.

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4 Comments

  1. Morgan DiPietro

    This is a great project!! I have been going to the on campus student health center and have been very pleased with how I have been treated. I feel comfortable talking about being nonbinary and being queer, however, I am a bit concerned about where to find health care after I graduate. I hope more clinics start to integrate more inclusive environments for everyone!

    Reply
  2. abbie merrill

    What an impactful project that is opening the door for much-needed discussion and policy changes. It would be interesting to see if there is a correlation between numbers of years in the practice and the variables you measured.

    Reply
  3. Sam Looker-Koenigs

    Becca, you’re doing such incredibly important work here. I especially appreciate the education element of your work, how you’ve given the clinics you studied resources so that they can improve what they’re doing. I sincerely hope we see significant changes as a result of your work!

    It’s always so delightful to see my former first-year writers in senior scholar mode. Congrats on this, and graduation, and your Chancellor’s Award, and your job! You’re amazing!

    Reply
  4. Burgundy Pendragon

    This is so important! LGBTQ+ healthcare is so hard to come by as-is just in the state of Wisconsin, let alone in the Fox Valley. I, myself, go all the way to Chicago to the Howard Brown clinic for my LGBTQ+ affirming healthcare. More light and research needs to be shed on healthcare for our community. Good work!!! Love the poster!

    Reply

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