Lets do better together: Training for health professionals on transgender and gender diverse affirmative practice in a hospital context

Andrew Wale-corey1, Simone Sheridan1

1The Royal Melbourne Hospital, Parkville, Australia

Background: A recent Australian study found that Transgender and Gender Diverse (TGD) patients experience high rates of discrimination when accessing mainstream healthcare services.  A lack of knowledge of TGD issues and insensitive questioning were the most common forms of reported discrimination (Department of Health, 2014).  Research suggests that the TGD population experience poorer physical and mental health outcomes due to stigma and social exclusion (Department of Health, 2014). Improving the provision of TGD affirmative health care may contribute to decreased health disparities and assist in creating safe and accessible health care for TGD people.

Objectives:  To develop, implement and evaluate a co-design education and training package with the Zoe Belle Gender Collective on affirmative language and sensitive questions for Nursing, Medical, Allied Health and Administrative staff.

Methods:  Single site cross-sectional survey measuring participants’ knowledge and confidence related to TGD experiences and affirmative practice skills.

Results: Preliminary results for 116 participants (84 nursing staff, 19 Allied Health Clinicians and 13 Medical Staff) show an increase in knowledge regarding the use of TGD safe language, importance of pronouns and asking sensitive questions to TGD patients. Furthermore, many participants identified an increase in knowledge regarding TGD experiences and inclusive/affirmative practice. The study is ongoing with a hospital wide roll out in 2019.

Significance:  Improving health professionals’ TDG knowledge and affirmative practice skills can assist in mitigating the effects of discrimination and harassment, which in turn may improve TDG health and wellbeing. This study describes a co-design, inter professional, time efficient, low-cost method to deliver education and examines its effectiveness.


Andrew Wale-Corey is a Social Worker at the Royal Melbourne Hospital.  Andrew has clinical experience in Emergency Surgery, Trauma, Stroke, Neurology and Cardiology and a keen interest in LGBTIQA inclusive and affirmative practice.  Andrew is a member of the RMH LGBTIQA Working Party, a member of the Family Safety Advocacy Initiative, and was recently nominated for an Allied Health Respect Award for their work with LGBTIQA patients, staff, advocacy and education.

Simone Sheridan is a Clinical Nurse Educator at the Royal Melbourne Hospital.  Simone has a dedicated interest in providing safe and accessible care for all patient with a focus on the LGBTIQA community.  Simone is a key member of the RMH LGBTIQA Working Party and runs the ‘Let’s Talk about Sex’ training day. She is currently working with the Family Safety team to provide education to nursing staff with regards to Family Violence.

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2009, Canberra (8th NAHC)

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