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Students want more education on transgender gynaecology

By Niamh Quinlan - 02nd Sep 2022


Most medical students (81 per cent) who took part in a recent survey want further teaching on the gynaecological health issues experienced by transgender people. 

A paper outlining the survey results, entitled ‘Implementing medical student teaching on gynaecological healthcare of transgender patients’ was recently published in the Irish Medical Journal

The study was conducted by the University College Dublin Centre for Human Reproduction, Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital, Dublin. 

A one-hour lecture on transgender healthcare was delivered to final-year medical students by Obstetrics and Gynaecology Registrar and Lead Author of the study, Dr Sadhbh Lee. A survey was also completed before and after the lecture. 

A total of 71 students completed the pre-lecture survey, which found 90 per cent reported some-to-no understanding of the healthcare issues of transgender people, while 18 per cent reported an understanding of the role of gynaecology in the care of transgender patients. 

A follow-up survey, with a response rate of 41 per cent, found that 91 per cent of students had increased confidence in speaking to transgender patients. Some 93 per cent had a better understanding of the role of gynaecology for transgender patients and 95 per cent had a better understanding of specific transgender health issues. 

Currently, there is no tailored postgraduate obstetrics and gynaecology training for the care of transgender patients. Around half of students reported having received some teaching on transgender health and this was mainly on endocrinology rotations. 

Dr Lee told the Medical Independent that not every student is guaranteed rotation through endocrinology departments. 

“While teaching on this topic is there, it is inconsistent and not comprehensive,” she said. 

A student who provided feedback on the lecture stated it was “a really informative talk on a topic that is chronically under-addressed in modern medical education”. 

Dr Lee commented: “Transgender patients have lower rates of engagement with healthcare services for multiple reasons, one of which is lack of healthcare provider knowledge, and this is on us to correct.” 

She also said that, with the involvement of the RCPI, a guideline for gynaecological care of transgender people could be developed for trainees and consultants and included in the curriculum for examination.

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