Nurse bias toward transgender patients is higher than their peers: study

Nurses tend to have more implicit bias toward transgender patients than non-nurse healthcare workers, according to a survey of more than 34,000 employees in the sector.

The survey analyzed data from the Harvard-developed Implicit Associations Test — which has become a widely used measure to surface known or unrealized biases toward race, religion, gender and sex in business and academic settings. In general, the data found that healthcare workers are more likely to show bias toward transgender individuals than those who do not work in the industry. 

Additionally, the analysis highlighted that "healthcare professionals are less likely to know transgender people personally and that nurses are more likely to conflate sex and gender identity," according to the results which were published Nov. 2 in the journal Heilyon.

On top of that, data revealed that nurses are also more likely to agree with transphobic statements or views such as that individuals cannot change their gender or that something is "wrong" with someone who does not explicitly identify as male or female. 

According to the lead authors of the study, this could be due to nurses' "tendency to conflate sex and gender identity, as shown by higher levels of agreement with transphobic statements (in the test) that conflate these two distinct concepts," they wrote in the news release.

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