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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.


Originally published as Maley, B., & Gross, R. (2019, April). A writing assignment to address gaps in the nursing curriculum regarding health issues of LGBT+ populations. In Nursing forum (Vol. 54, No. 2, pp. 198-204).



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