Australian mental health nurses and transgender clients: Attitudes and knowledge

Damien Riggs, Clare Bartholomaeus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


As increasing numbers of transgender people access mental health services, so with this comes the requirement that mental health professionals are capable of providing inclusive and informed care. In Australia, mental health nurses play a key role in the mental health workforce, and are increasingly likely to engage with transgender people across a range of practice contexts. The research reported in this paper sought to explore the experience, knowledge and attitudes of a sample of Australian mental health nurses with regards to working with transgender people. A total of 96 mental health nurses completed a survey that included an attitudinal measure and a measure of clinical knowledge. Our findings indicated that a majority of the sample had worked with a transgender client before, but only a minority had undertaken training in working with transgender clients. Training was related to more positive attitudes; and both training and experience were related to greater clinical knowledge. Female and/or older participants had greater clinical knowledge, whilst more religious participants had less positive attitudes. The paper concludes by commenting on the dearth of competency and practice documents specific to mental health nurses working with transgender people, and it outlines the Australian standards that would mandate their development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)212-222
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Research in Nursing
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2016


  • attitudes
  • competencies
  • knowledge
  • mental health
  • nurses
  • transgender


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