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4 Reasons The Nursing Industry Needs to Become More LGBTQ+ Conscious

Posted by Travis James Sumner on Jul 28, 2020 3:45:39 PM

Recently Rohme chatted with Shannon Whittington, a specialist in LGBTQ+ and diversity affairs. As a published author and certified speaker, her award-winning work has won her plaudits around the world. She was on hand to discuss the role of the LGBTQ+ community in nursing–a mission, she said, that was about “alerting” people to the benefits of inclusivity, rather than a crusade to “convert” everyone. Here are four standout reasons inclusivity is beneficial to all.

Diverse teams are stronger.

Diversity is a cultural buzzword, but what does it actually mean in a practical sense. Well, according to Whittington, the benefits are quantifiable. A vast majority of the time –87% of the time, in fact–teams with diverse members make better decisions, be that in the theatre, ward or at the front desk. In a world where we continue to strive to get more done in a shorter space of time, it only makes sense to allow more voices to the table.

Diverse teams make better decisions

Diversity in healthcare will benefit society too.

In 2020, we still live in an age where 19% of transgender people have been refused medical care. Prejudice against the LGBTQ+ community is still rampant all over the world. Whittington shared her own personal struggles; even today, she wonders how new healthcare organisations are going to treat her when she walks through their doors. When she has a clear sign that a corporation supports the LGBTQ+ community, she feels valued.

How can corporations show their support? Whittington recommended that companies should consider investing in “affirming imagery,” like an LGBTQ+ flag that sits in a prominent position of the practice. Beyond this, there are other simple things you can do, such as asking:

  • How would you like me to refer to you?
  • What pronoun do you use?
  • How would you like to be addressed?

By being LGBTQ+ proud, organisations can put down a marker and, with luck, positively influence those people that walk through the door–no matter their sexual orientation or identity.

Diversity breaks down social barriers and fosters inclusivity.

It’s very easy, Whittington says, to only connect with people who look like you. For instance: “Are you hiring everyone that looks the same?”

All this does, however, is create a barrier that makes an “other” of everyone else. We should all be allowed to be the best expression of ourselves and by being one dimensional–or dismissive of other people’s needs–we hurt our staff and keep good people on the outside.

One dimensional corporations make less money.

“What is the cost of not having inclusive environments?” Whittington asks. It can be to the tune of a staggering $64 billion. This amount represents an annual estimated cost of losing and replacing 2 million American workers leaving their jobs each year due to unfairness and discrimination. Ultimately, diversity is everywhere, and the old ways of ordering society belong firmly in the past.

Have a look at Shannon Whittington's complete online event with Rohme here:


Shannon Whittington, RN, MSN, CCM, LGBTQ+ Health certified, is a published author and certified speaker with the John Maxwell team. Her areas of expertise include LGBTQ+, Diversity & Inclusion, and Servant Based Leadership. Shannon has a passion for transgender health, and she educates clinicians in gender affirming surgeries.

Topics: medical professionals, nurses, healthcare, nurse news, RN, ODP, SFA, operating department practitioner, lgbtq+, inclusion, gay community, diversity