"There's an arsenal of tools that can really influence the processes in place in your healthcare setting," Zuzelo says. She points to resources from Healthy People 2020, which includes LGBT health in its topics and objectives. There's also the Healthcare Equality Index which provides what Zuzelo says is "an opportunity for healthcare institutions to look to improve the way that they provide equitable and inclusive care." The HEI also acknowledges institutions that are Equality Leaders.
"I would think that this would be a mark of excellence that would be a good thing to have," Zuzelo says.
Other resources exist from the ANA and The Joint Commission.
Zuzelo says year after year, nursing is named the most-trusted profession by the public, so it's a nurse's responsibility to help every one of his or her patients feel like it is safe for them to be honest and forthcoming about their sexuality.
"As long as people feel threatened or uncomfortable with revealing or sharing… it stays covert," Zuzelo says. "It requires us, then, of being accepting of all the people we provide care [for]."
Alexandra Wilson Pecci is a managing editor for HealthLeaders Media.