Broekers Makes an Impact in LGBTQ Nursing Education  

Talia Broekers photo
Senior Talia Broekers is making an impact in healthcare and education by combining her passions for nursing and the LGBTQ community. “I am heavily involved with the LGBTQ Center,” Talia said. “I started to think about gaps in healthcare and about issues in education.”

From Westfield, Indiana, Talia is majoring in nursing and minoring in LGBT Studies. As a LGBTQ Center intern, she is fullfilling a requirement for her Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies class 492 by conducting research focused on the gaps in accessing healthcare for transgender people. “I studied accessing hormone replacement therapy, gender affirmative procedures or surgeries, and the huge lack of knowledge in providing care and access,” Talia said.

Talia had to educate herself about healthcare for the LGBTQ community. “I thought, ‘Wow, there are gaps in education even in the Purdue nursing program,’” Talia said.

Talia actually started her research without class credit in fall 2019.

“If I wanted to make a true impact, I needed to talk to as many people as possible and determine where there could be areas of improvement,” said Talia. “I did that without course credit because it's something I'm passionate about. I wanted something that could be integrated across the Purdue nursing curriculum so people would have practice engaging in names and pronouns and learning concepts.”

Talia worked with faculty to create a simulated nursing experience for students that included a trans patient. “With simulated practice, students learn about transition related care,” Talia said. “They practice with proper names and pronoun usage and learn about the systemic barriers with healthcare records. Many records use all legal names without other options for a preferred name or preferred pronouns, as well as a binary understating of sex and gender. Often records just say ‘male or female.’”

Talia discovered there is no “organ inventory” indicated on patient records. Once a person’s sex is legally changed, they may still have some organs from their previous sex not indicated on their records, and they miss receiving screenings, such as pap smears or mammograms.

“So, I was able to educate students about gaps in care, and they received needed practice,” Talia said. “It was the project that I am most proud of. We're going to continue it into the fall semester. There's a lot of positive feedback.”

Talia also speaks to groups about providing care to vulnerable populations, for instance, when a member of the LGBTQ community has the coronavirus. Regarding entering the nursing field in the midst of the pandemic, Talia said, “I am willing to throw myself on the line because I know I would be coming home to my partner who is also fairly young and healthy. I really feel for the nurses who work really hard and then come home and worry about whether or not they're going to inflict this illness on their families.”