For Trans Day of Visibility (31 March), Sarah O’Brien-McLean (they/them), acute care nurse and trans and non-binary lead for University Hospitals Sussex (UHSussex), highlights the important work of the LGBTQ+ network in supporting transgender and non-binary colleagues and patients.
Sarah’s passion and drive for more inclusive care started while training to be a nurse. They said: “During my studies, I researched whether nurses could improve the experience of trans people in healthcare. And simply put, the answer is yes, we can.
“I’m determined to help address the inequalities and issues that members of the LGBTQ+ community face, including creating a more inclusive workplace and healthcare environment.”
Respect and inclusion are core values at UHSussex, which help create an inclusive culture that values diversity and empowers everyone to be their authentic self at work.
This includes celebrating differences and always taking the time to listen, and learn, from staff and patient experiences and perspectives.
In 2021, UHSussex became one of the first Trusts in the country to start using gender inclusive language for trans and non-binary people accessing maternity services. This year, the Trust introduced the optional choice to add pronouns to staff name badges.
“Wearing my pronouns on my badge has been very important for me,” they said. “If I have been misgendered, people notice my badge and very quickly correct themselves. It’s also been especially important when looking after trans and non-binary patients, who know that I have lived experience and can relate to them.”
Helping to enable and empower colleagues to be more confident in engaging with trans and non-binary patients and staff, Sarah has spearheaded a trans awareness training module available for all staff. They also lead an informal, monthly meet up, which is open to trans and non-binary staff, students, volunteers and associates.
Sarah said: “The aim is that we can meet each other, network and if needed discuss any issues in a safe space.”