A conversation with Shanna about our commitment to LGBQT patients.

During PRIDE month we sat down for a conversation with Shanna. Shanna is one of our team members who work with and support our LGBQT patients.

Q: What role do you have at Winterberry?

A: I am a primary care nurse practitioner at Winterberry and I work directly with our LGBQT patients as well as patients who are questioning their orientation or gender.

Q: Is there special training involved in working with such a diverse population?

A: I have done extra training through Rainbow Health Ontario to become certified in Gender Affirming Care in the adult population.

Q: How do you support LGBQT and questioning patients?

A: I provide gender competent care and  hormone therapy. I have discussions with patients and their families about gender identity. We discuss health and gender related goals so that I can best assist their needs. 

Q: What is involved in gender affirming care?

A: It can include hormone therapy and surgical referrals as well as ongoing support and assistance where needed.

Q: Are you the only team member at Winterberry with a focus on LGBQT patients?

A: Right now, yes, but we will be training more staff in the near future which is exciting! 

Q: What’s the benefit of LGBQT patients receiving care specific to their unique needs?

A: Patients who receive LGBQT competent care develop better therapeutic relationships with their provider and are able to have both their health and gender needs met.  

Q: Are there common reasons why LGBQT patients don’t receive the care they need in other settings?

A: Common reasons that patients don’t receive care for their unique needs include stigmatization, negative prior experiences with health care, higher rates of anxiety and mood disorders, and difficulty openly discussing their gender and sexual health related issues. I know this because in my practice, when I initially meet patients, many have expressed negative experiences in healthcare in the past. It is important to trust and have confidence in your health care provider so during my appointments we work towards rebuilding that patient-provider and patient-health relationship.

Q: What’s the goal for your patients?

A: To be confident, happy and healthy!