Hands holding heart.

National Student Nurses’ Association and Columbia Nursing Partner for LGBTQ Health Mentorship Program

This July, six pre-licensure nursing students will each be paired with a doctorally prepared nurse to serve as a mentor in LGBTQ health. This initiative is part of a new collaboration between the National Student Nurses’ Association (NSNA) and Columbia Nursing born out of the National Nursing LGBTQ Health Summit in November 2019.

The program’s overall goal is to increase knowledge of LGBTQ health among pre-licensure nursing students through one-on-one mentorship, participation in bi-monthly workshops, and completion of a final project on an LGBTQ health topic, which will be submitted as a poster to the NSNA Annual Convention. 

The six students were chosen from among 30 applicants based on essays articulating their interest in LGBTQ health, leadership potential, proposed final project ideas, and a letter of recommendation from a faculty member. All are members of the National Student Nurses’ Association.

Billy Caceres, assistant professor of nursing, co-founded the program with Columbia Nursing PhD student April Ancheta. “LGBTQ+ populations experience significant exposure to discrimination and marginalization, all of which contribute to health and healthcare disparities,” he explained. “We hope that participation in this mentorship program will provide mentees with greater knowledge and comfort in working with LGBTQ+ populations, as well as enhance their ability to pursue nursing careers focused on LGBTQ+ health.” 

The one-year mentorship program was conceived by the Scholarship and Research Workgroup of the National Nursing LGBTQ Health Summit. It is part of the group’s efforts to increase visibility of LGBTQ health within nursing by providing the knowledge and skills nurses need to advocate and care for LGBTQ populations as they advance in their careers.   

Kyle Loose, president of the National Student Nurses’ Association, said: “NSNA has always supported the mission of equity and equality for all in healthcare. The LGBTQ+ community has been underserved and underrepresented, with limited topics regarding the LGBTQ+ community being addressed in nursing school. NSNA supports continuing education and keeping nurses and nursing students up to date on current healthcare education."