The Inclusion Health Clinic (IHC) initially opened in 2018 and continues to expand each year. The IHC exclusively serves the LGBTQ+ community and offers primary care, gender affirming hormone therapy, pre-exposure prophylaxis for HIV and specialty care services. The IHC nursing team plays a pivotal role in the provision of health care within the clinic. The care provided by the IHC nurses is rooted in a solid knowledge base of primary care, as well as fluency in multiple specialties. 

Upon starting their health care journey in the Inclusion Health Clinic, many LGBTQ+ individuals report having experienced discrimination while seeking health care in the past. The IHC nursing team embodies relationship-based care and focuses on building trust with the patients they serve, creating a safe and judgement-free experience. The nurses take the time needed to actively listen to each patient’s concerns and address his, her or their unique needs. As a result, the IHC nurses have been able to foster an environment where “patients’ walls come down,” and establish a new level of trust in the health care team. For example, nurse-driven appointments provide a unique opportunity for patients to get to know the nurses they often speak to or communicate with throughout their journey. These appointments are also when patients can ask additional questions or gain a greater understanding of their health care needs. The IHC nurses can then support patients through the process of navigating the complexities of health care. Ann Brooks, RN, said, “It is a privilege to help our patients on their journey to being their true selves.” 

In addition to creating therapeutic partnerships with patients, the nurses perform phone and MyChart triage, coordinate medication authorizations, offer in-person injection teaching, sexually transmitted disease (STD) screening and STD treatment. 

Nurses play a substantial role in providing patient education to increase health literacy and improve access to health care for patients who may be experiencing adult-focused care for the first time. IHC nurses take advantage of the full scope of their practice while helping to address the bio-psycho-social aspects of patient care. 

The clinicians in the IHC depend heavily on the nurses to bridge gaps when it comes to providing additional support to patients. This may include information on accessing community resources for therapy and community groups that provide support to transgender and gender-diverse people. Thanks to the profound collaboration of the interdisciplinary team, patients receive compassionate, lifesaving care.