With the increasing number of transgender youth and families who seek medical care, they often initially turn to their primary care provider, pediatrician or nurse practitioner for guidance. As creating and maintaining a positive identity is a developmental step for all adolescents, trans youth, however, have the additional challenge and pressure of integrating a non-conforming gender identity with their cultural and ethnic backgrounds, personal characteristics, and family circumstances. This places pediatric healthcare providers in a unique position to guide and support gender-variant children in discovering their authentic self, which requires critical thinking pertinent to all the multidimensional and mulicontexual factors that contribute to one’s well-being.
However, there is a limited number of knowledgeable and competent healthcare providers who can adequately meet the needs of this vulnerable pediatric population. Significantly, providers’ lack of awareness regarding gender development and trans healthcare is evidently the one most significant and life threatening barriers that actually perpetuates existing health disparities. By improving trans-health competency and practice, providers have the ability, knowledge, and power to help address these health disparities and close the gap.
In exploring the different perspectives of patients, caregivers, and health professionals regarding gender development and gender-affirming care this article utilizes the research with a multidisciplinary approach to guide nurses and other providers on how to deliver competent transgender healthcare. Introduction It is estimated that 1 to 2% of the United States population identifies as transgender, or gender nonconforming. These statistics could be higher, given the increasing population of transgender youth and underreporting of trans individuals (GLAAD, 2017). In a 2016 Harris Poll, GLAAD found that the millennial generation (age 18-34) are more likely to identify as transgender or gender nonconforming than previous generations. Prior studies estimate the prevalence of transgender youth varying from 1 to 3.5% within the general population (Torres et al., 2015).
This increase has led to the expansion of gender transition clinics for children, and endocrinologists delving into the practice of transition medicine for children. The first people transgender youth and their families turn to when seeking guidance related to transition needs, or simply reaching out for more information related to gender nonconformity, is their primary care provider, pediatrician or nurse practitioner. Unfortunately, many providers report a lack of knowledge or do not feel competent to adequately meet the needs for these pediatric patients (Gridley et al., 2016; McDowell & Bower, 2016; Paradisio & Lally, 2018; Torres et al., 2015).
Considering the different perspectives of patients, caregivers, and health professionals in regards to the healthcare barriers, this article utilizes the research with a multidisciplinary approach to guide nurses and other providers on how to deliver competent transgender healthcare. By providing foundation and context, we aim to enlighten pediatric nurses and other
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