Exposure to Interprofessional Collaboration for Providing Care to Transgender Patients
Providing comprehensive and equitable care to all patients is a requirement of all healthcare providers, with part of the educational process being to learn about patient populations that might have unique considerations related to their healthcare needs. This concept has been further reinforced through the recent introduction of the healthcare quintuple aim that includes considerations of health equity as a key element for achieving improved patient care, outcomes, and cost. Members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ+) community represent one of these populations. To help expose learners to some of these considerations, the Purdue College of Pharmacy, Purdue University Speech Language Pathology and Nutrition Science programs, and Purdue LGBTQ Center collaborated to host a Transgender Care interprofessional education (IPE) event. In this event, students had the opportunity to listen to, interact with, and ask questions of a transgender individual. Following this interaction, students were assigned to small interprofessional teams to review and discuss patient cases of transgender individuals. Through facilitated conversations from faculty, guest speakers, and representatives from the Purdue LGBTQ Center, students discussed strategies for effectively collaborating as healthcare professionals to provide optimal care to these patients.
Pre- and post-survey results indicate that students have a great understanding of the need to adjust their care to certain patient populations, including transgender patients. On a 5-point Likert scale (1=Strongly Disagree and 5=Strongly Agree), select results from students representing all participating disciplines Agree or Strongly Agree that: 1) transgender patients have specific healthcare needs (pre: 4.2±0.8 and post: 4.3±0.6); 2) a transgender person should be addressed using the pronouns of the chosen gender, rather than biological sex (pre: 4.4±0.8 and post: 4.5±0.8); 3) practitioners should be knowledgeable about issues unique to transgender individuals (pre: 4.4±0.7 and post: 4.5±0.6); 4) practitioners should work to develop skills necessary for effective practice with transgender clients (pre: 4.4±0.7 and 4.5±0.6); and more.
Participating students came into, and left, this experience with a good understanding that transgender individuals have unique healthcare needs. They also recognized the important role of collaborating with other healthcare professionals to best meet these needs. While focused on the care of transgender patients, this activity supports the requirement of all healthcare programs to ensure students have an understanding of the healthcare needs of different populations and how they can support the achievement of the quintuple aim through effective interprofessional collaboration.