Background: LGBT+ populations account for 4% of the US population, yet health disparities persist, which are considered a priority in health care systems. In nursing education programs, the allotment in time to cover LGBT+ health content is not mandated thus ranges from zero to several hours total in nursing curricula. Therefore, nursing students’ education regarding LGBT+ health issues remains minimal and inconsistent throughout the nation’s nursing programs.
Aim: To provide associate degree nursing students with exposure to the health disparities in LGBT+ populations through a reflective writing assignment.
Methods: The essays were culled from both sections of an established core course in the nursing curriculum which was taught by both faculties. Using a retrospective content analysis approach, the essays from 61 associate degree nursing students were read and re-read by both authors. Similar statements were grouped together, and themes emerged for both authors.
Results: The content analysis from the students’ essays, which exposed the students to LGBT+ health issues, yielded intriguing and encouraging data. Four themes regarding LGBT+ health emerged from the students’ essays: 1) communication, 2) advocacy, 3) increased knowledge and awareness, and 4) empathy development.
Conclusions: Such results suggested that a reflective writing assignment was beneficial for nursing students and exposed and familiarized them with the disparities of LGBT+ populations. Through analysis of the students’ essay contents, the two faculty researchers were able to identify improved knowledge and awareness from the writing assignment.