Dental Apprentice at Swinton Dental Centre
As a member of the LGBT+ community myself I know that some people haven’t always felt welcomed in the past, so myself and my workplace put together a process for how to approach the situation. For example always respecting patient’s pronouns and name without question. I feel that if you educate yourself with the understanding and knowledge required then patients will always return and most importantly, return with a smile and not feel threatened or incorrectly treated. This is important to our team as we follow the General Dental Council standards to the best of our abilities by always offering support to those who require it.
I have noticed that once patients feel understood they start to confide in us and open up, not only about dental issues but also home life as well. As they start to feel listened to, this builds a good staff and patient relationship, which is important for the sense of feeling welcomed.
One way in which positive change has been put in place with the support of Pride in Practice is always having helpline numbers available for patients. We also amend patient medical history forms to be inclusive for the LGBT+ community.
We understand that some patients haven’t officially “come out” to people close to them. They may be uncomfortable talking about some things face-to-face so we have placed LGBT posters in the toilets where patients can take note of useful information without feeling watched or judged.
I also feel that to promote LGBT awareness at a local level we need to support the younger community. We need to educate young people as they will be the leaders of tomorrow and the cycle of LGBT+ discrimination needs to change.
It is important to offer support for anyone who feels they need to hide who they truly are, in order that they may grow stronger and we are in a good position to be able to help promote and develop that growth.