Are Advanced Practice Clinicians Up to Speed on LGBT Care?

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Physician assistants and nurse practitioners of today have a responsibility to pave the way for future research on effective care for our LGBT patients.
Physician assistants and nurse practitioners of today have a responsibility to pave the way for future research on effective care for our LGBT patients.

I graduated from the MEDEX Northwest physician assistant (PA) program in 2000. At the time little was provided in the curriculum about lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender (LGBT) issues in medicine. We received plenty of information about the flaws in African American health care but not much about the LGBT population.

Since then, things have changed slightly. The driving force for this change is the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant,1 the guiding light for PA curriculum, and the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) Blueprint.2 The NCCPA Blueprint is the guiding document used to train PAs. This means that the information provided in the NCCPA Blueprint is final. The Blueprint dictates to PA programs what, and to what extent, to teach.

I know less about how nurse practitioners (NPs) manage their milieu, but I assume it is similar to how PAs work. When we look at the vibrant culture of NPs, we see ample opportunity to make PAs think about how we could do things differently.

An interesting article was recently published that focused on the optimal use of NPs to reduce health disparities. Ultimately, PAs and NPs are well aligned to assess and address health disparities.3

As advanced care clinicians, we are trying to navigate all of the racial and sex disparities found in research, and to find a way for our professions to join hands to promote increased data collection in addressing disparities in LGBT care. We can also come together to find a way to promote gender and sex equality and to reduce sex/gender/race disparities in how we treat our patients. We need more curricular content about LBGT health; in the end, it is our challenge to find a way to do this.

References

  1. Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant.  Available at: http://www.arc-pa.org/. Accessed January 22, 2019.
  2. National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) Blueprint. Available at: https://www.nccpa.net/. Accessed January 22, 2019.
  3. Poghosyan L, Carthon JMB. The untapped potential of the nurse practitioner workforce in reducing health disparities. Policy Polit Nurs Pract. 2017;18(2):84-94.
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