Attitudes, Behavior, and Comfort of Emergency Medicine Residents in Caring for LGBT Patients: What Do We Know?
This paper was written by some of the thought leaders in the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion realm in Emergency Medicine. Undergraduate medical education has minimal formal hours dedicated to LGBTQ+ health, and EM residency has even less. The authors wanted to assess EM resident comfort in caring for patients who identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community
An anonymous service was sent out to CORD and was then disseminated to the residents of the 167 ACGME accredited EM residencies. It was a 24-question survey based on a similar one given to medical students. Overall, a total of 319 residents responded to the survey, with the vast majority identifying as heterosexual and cisgender
The results seem at first to be contradictory. A majority of respondents (63.5%) were either comfortable or very comfortable in addressing the needs of LBGT patients. But when asked about specific behaviors related to providing care, there was more to the story. Only 17.3% of respondents always asked about sexual partner gender, 4.7% always asked about sexual orientation for an abdominal or genital complaint.
Perhaps more disturbing, the survey found that 10% of respondents had observed attending physicians make discriminatory or inappropriate comments about LGBT patients or staff, 2% of respondents were uncomfortable working alongside LGBT physicians, and 6% of respondents disagreed with the statement that LGBT patients deserve the same level of quality care as other patients.
This study was published in 2019. Despite some amazing advancement in the LGBT community, we obviously still have a long way to go. This study shows the need for more formalized and routine education regarding LGBT population health issues at both the undergraduate and graduate medical education levels. It also demonstrates that LGBT physicians still experience discrimination in the workplace, even within our specialty. Be kind, be compassionate, be understanding.
Moll J, Krieger P, Heron SL, Joyce C, Moreno-Walton L. Attitudes, Behavior, and Comfort of Emergency Medicine Residents in Caring for LGBT Patients: What Do We Know?. AEM Educ Train. 2019;3(2):129-135. Published 2019 Jan 21. doi:10.1002/aet2.10318