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Nursing training needs to focus more on transgender patients

Thursday 13th October 2016
The training that nurses are given needs to focus more on transgender patient care, according to a new report. Image: Cathy Yeulet via iStock
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    The training that nurses are provided with needs to focus more on the best ways to approach care for transgender patients, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has stated.

    A survey led by the RCN has found that just 1 per cent of UK nurses had received training in caring specifically for people who identify as transgender before becoming qualified, while only 13 per cent felt they were adequately prepared to understand the unique needs of genderfluid patients.

    What's more, the college's research led to the discovery that only 14 per cent of nursing staff in Britain work for a service that is specially equipped to meet the needs of children and young people who are transgender or are classed as non-binary where gender is concerned.

    Overall, more than three-quarters (76 per cent) of nurses in the UK believe that training in this area needs to improve, with the RCN releasing a new guideline to help with this, entitled 'Fair Care for Trans Patients'.

    Awareness of gender fluidity is increasing, with more patients comfortable coming out as transgender, but as some stigma still surrounds the issue, these individuals often struggle with their mental health, meaning they require specialist support and understanding from healthcare staff.

    Although the RCN report has uncovered a need for significant improvements in training nurses to provide the best possible standard of care to transgender patients, the fact that this gap has been identified marks a positive step, as it highlights where change is needed.

    Wendy Irwin, diversity and equalities coordinator at the RCN, commented: "Over the past few years, rising awareness of gender fluidity has led to more people coming forward - adults and children alike.

    "Building both competence and confidence in understanding is key to breaking through stigma, but as this survey shows, support through learning and development is urgently required if we are to provide the care and support trans people need."

    Written by James Puckle

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