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Elite Nursing School to Offer Certification in Trans Health Care


Nurses who take the course will learn how to better treat trans and nonbinary patients.

The Columbia School of Nursing in New York is ready to offer a new certificate to its students, one that's the first of its kind.

The Certificate in Professional Achievement in Transgender/Gender Non-Binary Health Care will be available for nurse practitioners who want to better learn how to treat trans patients this September.

Laura Kelly, PhD, an associate professor of nursing at the school and the director of the Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Program said she's seen the difficulties trans people have in finding quality health care first hand. "Many clients come to me having purchased their hormones on the street," she said, adding, "Even if you're on the East or West Coast, the care for trans folks is lacking."

Issues with trans care include, but are not limited to, having medical professionals who are knowledgeable about trans care and issues, not being misgendered by doctors and staff, finding affordable health care, and in many parts of the country, finding a doctor who is willing to provide trans-specific health care. According to a 2017 poll, 31 percent of trans people said they don't have regular access to health care and another 22 percent said they avoided going to the doctor because of fear of discrimination.

Columbia's new Transgender Health Care Certificate includes a two-semester program with three didactic courses and one clinical practicum, all of which is offered online. The deadline for applications is July 15.

According to the Columbia School of Nursing's website, the program will teach nurses to "perform an appropriate, complete history and physical assessment of transgender patients, describe primary care needs specific to transgender patients, start and manage hormonal interventions for transgender patients and monitor side effects, identify how transgender patients will be incorporated into current clinical practice, and make changes in clinical practice to create a more trans-inclusive environment."

This is one of several steps the Columbia Doctors Primary Care Nurse Practitioner Group has been taking to ensure LGBTQ+ people get quality health care. All staff are educated in LGBTQ+ health issues and the NPG's Washington Heights location was the first practice in Upper Manhattan to offer a full range of LGBTQ+ services.

"There is a general gap in healthcare when it comes to transgender and gender non-binary (TGNB) patients. At the Nurse Practitioner Group, we fill that gap to foster the best health outcomes. As nurses, building relationships is the core of our practice and removing patient-provider barriers can be as simple as confirming pronouns, using chosen name, and using preferred or gender-neutral terminology when discussing anatomy," Rakiyah Jones, DNP, an assistant professor and family nurse practitioner at the school, said.

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