It is possible to state with certainty that the health problems of the LGBT community in the United States are various. Moreover, it is pointed out that in numerous cases, these problems are addressed inadequately, and also, there are considerable prejudice and social stigma surrounding the population under discussion. One can hardly doubt that the role of advanced practice nurses in eliminating various health problems related to the LGBT community is of high significance. However, it could be observed that nursing professionals often lack sufficient knowledge about LGBT-specific issues, and in some cases, they even express prejudice and discrimination toward the members of this community.
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Therefore, this analysis aims to investigate and integrate the knowledge of advanced nursing practice, scholarly inquiry, and leadership by investigating existing policies in the public health sector. It is evident that LGBT-specific problems are found in various spheres of policy-making. However, this paper targets the healthcare system level of policy (particularly, the academic healthcare system) because it is argued that the education of advanced nursing professionals largely impacts the healthcare workers’ attitudes toward LGBT patients. This policy analysis is intended to address several questions. Firstly, what are the background and current state of the issue under discussion? Secondly, which is the best policy among the existing alternatives? Thirdly, what are the implications of the best alternative policy and directions for future research?
Description of the Issue
The issue is vastly presented in contemporary scholarly literature. Mitchell, Lee, Green, and Skyes (2016) state that there are approximately ten million LGBT people in the US. Fish and Evans (2016) state that the problem of caring for the LGBT community exists within the context of the lack of cultural competence among advanced practice nurses.
Existing Policy Addressing The Issue
It is possible to state that, as of the current situation, very few attempts are made to develop a comprehensive educational plan about the health needs of the LGBT population. Carabez, Pellegrini, Mankovitz, Eliason, and Dariotis (2015) argue that the existing nursing educational literature is insufficient in providing research and theoretical frameworks for working with LGBT individuals. Therefore, the current policy lacks coherency.
Strengths and Shortcomings in Existing Policy
Particular strengths of the existing policy could hardly be identified. However, shortcomings are numerous. The study by Cornelius and Carrick (2015) indicates that nursing students are insufficiently informed about LGBT-specific health problems and needs. Lim, Johnson, and Eliason (2015) also state that teachers are not prepared to educate about the LGBT community’s issues.
As is identified in the previous section, the issue of teaching advanced practice nurses about LGBT-specific health problems is highly important, and yet this policy is insufficiently addressed in the contemporary academic healthcare system. Therefore, there is an evident need for the development of alternative policies. Since the problem exists on several levels, there are numerous alternatives proposed by different authors. For example, Lim et al. (2015) mention that the implementation of seminar workshops by expert clinicians and policy advocates for LGBT issues would boost the faculty knowledge and readiness for teaching about the LGBT community’s problems. Mitchell et al. (2016) state that it is essential to “modify practice policies and environments to be inclusive, take detailed and non-judgmental histories, educate themselves about the health issues of importance to their patients, and reflect upon personal attitudes” (p. 28). Additionally, Cornelius and Whitaker-Brown (2017) observe that the implementation of brief educational surveys for healthcare students increases their knowledge of LGBT-specific problems significantly.
Criteria for the Selection of the Best Policy
In order to further select the policy that would have the most positive impact on changing the current situation in the sphere of educating about the LGBT community (in other words, that would be the best among identified alternatives), it is essential to develop criteria for the selection. First of all, it is of high significance that the policy should address interventions specific to the academic healthcare system. Secondly, the policy should be applicable to the majority of educational facilities. Thirdly, it is of high importance that the chosen alternative would be the most efficient in terms of changing the current state of awareness about LGBT-specific problems among nursing teachers and students.
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Evaluation of Alternatives
According to the developed criteria, three identified policies, deriving from the academic literature, should be evaluated. The policy which is proposed in the article by Lim et al. (2016) is in full compliance with the developed set of criteria. Since the authors argue that the integration of LGBT-specific topics in the curricula should be competency-based as well as rooted in interprofessional collaboration, their policy should be evaluated as having a vast positive impact in perspective (Lim et al., 2016). Cornelius and Whitaker-Brown (2017) propose an efficient evidence-based practice intervention, but their policy lacks universality. Mitchell et al. (2016) develop a vast theoretical and statistical database for their investigation of the integration of the LGBT community’s health issue in the contemporary academic healthcare system. However, they do not provide any specific evidence-based practice interventions for the improvement of the current situation.
Assessment of Trade-offs between Alternatives
It is appropriate to state that trade-offs between the identified alternatives are possible. As was already mentioned, Mitchell et al. (2016) provide comprehensive theoretical research, which is supported by statistical data. Therefore, it could be incorporated into the policy proposal by Lim et al. (2016) as evidence-based support. The educational survey developed by Cornelius and Whitaker-Brown (2017) could also be used within Lim et al.’s (2016) framework as it is an efficient evidence-based practice intervention.
Identification of the Best Alternative
As it is evident from the analysis conducted in the previous section, the most suitable alternative policy in the context of this paper could be retrieved from the article by Lim et al. (2016). It was analyzed according to the developed set of quality criteria. In comparison with policies from other selected articles, the alternative proposed by Lim et al. (2016) would have the most positive impact on the current situation.
The Rationale for Selection
The rationale for the selection of this particular alternative is primarily based on its high compliance with the developed criteria. The policy is inclusive and comprehensive as it is based on vast literature research and deep analysis of the situation. Also, it is applicable to the majority of educational facilities. Thirdly, the policy by Lim et al. (2016) includes evidence-based practice interventions, which are significantly necessary for the implementation of the alternative.
Strategies for the Implementation
Strategies for the implementation of the policy under consideration could vary, depending on particular circumstances and the availability of resources. However, it is possible to state that, in general, each of these strategies should include three principal stages: (1) assessment of the current situation, (2) implementation of the policy, and (3) the evaluation of outcomes. Thus, it would be possible to control the process of implementation and retrieve meaningful conclusions about the policy’s sustainability.
Barriers to the Implementation
It is apparent that barriers to the implementation of the discussed policy are numerous, as they are based on prejudice and discrimination toward the LGBT community, which are still prevalent in contemporary society. For example, Lim et al. (2016) mention that in some cases, teachers’ individual biases toward the LGBT population can be barriers. In other cases, the overall policy of the educational facility (if it is faith-based, for example) could be in conflict with the implementation of Lim et al.’s (2016) alternative.
Methods for the Evaluation
Regarding methods for the evaluation of the policy implementation’s efficiency, it could be suggested that the educational survey developed by Cornelius and Whitaker-Brown (2017) appears to be the most suitable approach. This survey allows retrieving meaningful data about students’ and teachers’ attitudes towards the problems of the LGBT community. Therefore, it could be used to evaluate how efficient the alternative is.
As the Analysis and Recommendation sections dwelt upon the investigation of alternative policies in the contemporary academic literature, it is appropriate to put the selected alternative in the context of the initial purpose of this paper. The level of the academic healthcare system was targeted since it was identified that gaps in knowledge and insufficient education about LGBT-specific health problems are significant factors contributing to the current state of the LGBT community. As it was found, the policy proposed by Lim et al. (2016) would be highly efficient in eliminating negative aspects in contemporary nursing education.
Limitations of the Conducted Analysis
It is possible to state that one of the most significant limitations of the conducted analysis is that it was not possible to do more detailed and inclusive literature research on the topic due to the volume of this paper. Also, the study is limited to the observation of LGBT-specific policy interventions, while it would be more beneficial to include studies that describe the experience of policy-making for other diverse populations within the academic healthcare system. In general, the development of a holistic LGBT-specific policy for contemporary nursing educational facilities is not largely presented in the current academic literature.
Implications for Practice, Research, and Policy-Making
Implications of the chosen policy’s implementation for practice are numerous since it aims to change the current situation within the academic healthcare system and its educational practices. Implications for research are also significant as Lim et al. (2016) propose several new directions for theoretical research on the topic. Overall, the chosen alternative could be used in policy-making.
As it was identified in the conducted analysis, the policy proposed by Lim et al. (2016) appears to be the most efficient. According to the set of developed criteria for the identification of the best suitable alternative, Lim et al. (2016) created the most effective alternative to the current policy. It is recommended to implement it in the contemporary academic healthcare system in order to improve teachers’ and students’ educational outcomes of learning about the problems of the LGBT community. In future studies, it is possible to address the question of how the overall social environment in contemporary nursing educational facilities could be changed.
Carabez, R., Pellegrini, M., Mankovitz, A., Eliason, M. J., & Dariotis, W. M. (2015). Nursing students perceptions of their knowledge of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender issues: Effectiveness of a multi-purpose assignment in a public health nursing class. Journal of Nursing Education, 54(1), 50-53.
Cornelius, J. B., & Carrick, J. (2015). A survey of nursing students’ knowledge of and attitudes toward LGBT health care concerns. Nursing Education Perspectives, 36(3), 176-178.
Cornelius, J. B., & Whitaker-Brown, C. (2017). A brief learning experience designed to increase nursing students’ knowledge of and attitudes toward LGBT health care. GSTF Journal of Nursing and Health Care (JNHC), 2(1), 1-4. Web.
Fish, J., & Evans, D. T. (2016). Promoting cultural competency in the nursing care of LGBT patients. Journal of Research in Nursing, 21(3), 159-162.
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Lim, F., Johnson, M., & Eliason, M. (2015). A national survey of faculty knowledge, experience, and readiness for teaching lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender health in baccalaureate nursing programs. Nursing Education Perspectives, 36(3), 144-152.
Mitchell, K. M., Lee, L., Green, A., & Skyes, J. (2016). The gaps in health care of the LGBT community: Perspectives of nursing students and faculty. Papers & Publications: Interdisciplinary Journal of Undergraduate Research, 5(1), 21-30.