Educating on anti-oppressive practice with gender and sexual minority elders: Nursing and social work perspectives
Keywords:Social work education, sexuality, diversity
INTRODUCTION: This article relates a common dilemma in professional education out of which developed a collaboration between two health disciplines at a regional Australian university. In a literature review across the two disciplines, the authors drew from social work’s teaching knowledge base in an attempt to strengthen the nursing skill base. The intention was to provide students working in the health sector with a consistent theoretical approach and practical tools when working with sexual and gender minorities.
METHOD: As associate professors in social work and nursing, the authors argue on the basis of the teaching and the literature review, for an explicitly anti-oppressive approach to be applied to the education of professionals who work with elders identifying with gender and sexual minorities. Working within an anti-oppressive framework, beginning practitioners in social work and nursing in degree-level education programmes were encouraged to explore their own attitudes including taken-for-granted assumptions often unexplored in the prevailing medical models of care. How different demographics within the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer (LGBTQIA) community experience the health industry is a current issue for educators. There have been increasing challenges expressed by transgender individuals and their concerns over their specific health needs/stigma in rest-home-care facilities, for example.
CONCLUSION: By embedding anti-oppressive principles in our teaching practice, relating to gender and sexual minorities, we acknowledge and open the debate to some of the possibilities/practicalities/difficulties of advocating for this within a broader multi-disciplinary in small town, rural contexts. The implications for social work and nursing education are discussed.
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