Training is essential in almost, if not all fields, even more so when dealing with persons of a sensitive nature. And with the coronavirus pandemic sweeping the world, impacting all and sundry, the need for specialized training for interacting with certain persons becomes a priority.
It was with this in mind that a workshop entitled: “Addressing Vulnerabilities During COVID-19 and Beyond” for Caribbean Health Care Professionals was held at the Dennery Hospital on Friday, June 26th. Thirty-five health care professionals, including nurses and doctors, were in attendance.
This one of a kind workshop is part of a series of activities hosted by the Caribbean Right Here Right Now platform to build the capacity of health care professionals in the sub-region so that they can more effectively address the health care needs of LGBTQI persons and vulnerable individuals during the COVID-19 Pandemic and beyond. It was developed to assist health care professionals to provide an effective and respectful environment for vulnerable clients, with a focus on the LGBTQI community.
In her opening remarks at the workshop, Ms. Alicia Baptiste, Executive Member of the Caribbean Nurses Association and President of the St. Lucia Nurses Association, expressed profound appreciation for the workshop. She said that the training was most timely and needed, as their team of health professionals are always seeking ways of working internally to educate, train, and support team members. This training, she said, will go a long way, as they also continue working externally to support customers, clients, and their network of health care providers.”
For many persons, visiting a healthcare facility can be a very nervous experience for a host of reasons. This situation is even worse for LGBTQI people who may be uncomfortable revealing sensitive information to health care professionals who need it to provide certain services. The challenges related to COVID-19 have also exacerbated the challenges. The training focused on creating an environment in which health care professionals can provide a more comfortable atmosphere for conversations and services with patients, which is an important goal for all health care staff.
A primary objective for healthcare professionals is to establish solid, trusting relationships with patients in order to promote healthier behaviours. As with other minority groups, when working with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) patients, it is especially important to build rapport as a way to counteract the exclusion, discrimination, and stigma that many have
The varied methodology of the workshop enabled the health care providers to understand and address the issues of bias and discrimination which were identified by LGBTQI people and to review effective strategies through team efforts and conscious initiatives to avoid inequitable care.
Participants are also expected to share the knowledge gained with other health care providers.