NYU’s nursing school creates LGBTQ+ health course

June 02, 2022

NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing has created a new elective course focused on LGBTQ+ health to better prepare nursing students to provide culturally affirming and inclusive care to this population.

Jeff Day headshot“It is rare for nursing schools to offer coursework dedicated to the health and well-being of LGBTQ+ individuals, despite the unique issues they face and growing interest from students. Our goal is to empower new nurses to provide care for people across sexual orientations and gender expressions that promotes health and improves patient outcomes,” said Jeff Day, DNP,
, clinical assistant professor at NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing, who developed and is teaching the elective course.

LGBTQ+ individuals face barriers to healthcare, including stigma and discrimination, as well as longstanding health disparities—for instance, an increased risk for substance use, suicide, and sexually transmitted infections. Nurses have historically been leaders in caring for this patient population, particularly in advocating for people living with HIV and AIDS, but many health
professionals lack an understanding of LGBTQ+ issues in healthcare.

Research shows that undergraduate nursing programs spend an average of only 2.12 hours teaching content about LGBTQ+ health topics. Some nursing schools have taken steps to add LGBTQ+ content to their curricula: At NYU Meyers, educators recently introduced an LGBTQ-focused simulation to prepare nursing students to create a safer healthcare environment for all
patients irrespective of their gender and sexual identity. The simulation demonstrates the use of inclusive language during an imagined emergency room visit.

In 2019, Day was approached by students in one of his courses who were eager to learn more about LGBTQ+ health, prompting the development of the new standalone elective. “While ideally LGBTQ+ content would be woven throughout the entire nursing curriculum, we recognized that this amount of change takes time, so we developed an elective course to help fill the gap in LGBTQ+ educational content” said Day.

The new undergraduate course delves into the role of the nurse in providing culturally inclusive care for LGBTQ+ patients. Students learn about the history of LGBTQ+ health issues, physical and mental health concerns unique to this population, and laws and policies governing LGBTQ+ care. Topics covered include improving the care of transgender patients, HIV/AIDS, and addressing discrimination in healthcare. 

The course was successfully piloted at NYU Meyers in Spring 2022 and will officially be part of the curriculum as an elective in Fall 2022.