It’s the eve before leaving for the GLMA conference, and the second annual Nursing Summit. I have been excited for the conference for a number of reasons, including getting away from the early fall semester chaos and the dozens of faculty meetings we seem to need to get us jumpstarted after the summer break. But back to GLMA…the Nursing Summit, the launch of the Nursing Section, the number of nurses who are presenting workshops and posters is phenomenal. It seems like our time has finally arrived. We are more organized than ever before. We have a national organization and physicians and other healthcare professionals are lined up behind us in support. The time is ripe for us to demand to be heard in our own profession.
We seem to endlessly discuss the need for LGBTQ content in the nursing curriculum, but it seems like we never get beyond the discussing phase. My hope is that this will be the year that we develop a comprehensive document with supporting materials that can be handed over to curriculum committees at schools of nursing all over the world. Perhaps a book?
We (well, at least, I do) complain that our nursing professional organizations seem not to recognize us. Well, we have an Expert Panel at AAN and the Nursing Section of GLMA now. Let’s form an official alliance and push for policy change.
Our research shows how little practicing nurses and nurse educators know about LGBTQ health. Some of us have already begun to work on that, with continuing education programs and articles in our specific fields or areas. Some of us join, or run for, the curriculum committee at our schools. Let’s do more of that!
We started an LGBTQ nurse scholars mentoring program last year, but we have been pretty quiet in the past few months. Surely some of us have manuscripts that could use peer review, or ideas that we would like to throw out for discussion, or needs for collaborations to get us moving. Let’s use the resource this year and add to the growing number of articles on LGBT topics in our fields.
We have a growing number of allies in our practice, research, and policy work. How have we received this ally network? What can we do to be inclusive and encouraging of them? What kind of partnerships would help us move the discipline of nursing into near full inclusion and welcoming of LGBTQ nurses, nursing students, staff, and patients? Let’s foster and support our allies in a more formal way.
Finally, in preparing for the Nursing Summit, I was looking for images to jazz up my slides a bit. Do you know what comes up when you “google” for images of lesbian nurses? How can we address the sexualization of nurses in general, and lesbian nurses in particular? How can we blend feminism with our LGBTQ activism/theory to change the gender stereotypes and blatant sexism that still exists in the popular media about nurses?
I hope to see many of you in the next few days, and encourage others to join the Nursing Section of GLMA. Our day has come and we’ll have everything (and if you know what song that comes from, you are in my generation…we need to mentor the generation that will implement these changes!).