Background: During the latest decades, worldwide, there has been a growing incidence of same-sex parenthood. Nurses administer healthcare to lesbians from pregnancy planning through birth providing pertinent information and consultation. Although, there has been a shift in attitudes towards homosexuality, stigma and discrimination are still common. The study aimed to examine nurses' perceptions of the quality of perinatal care to lesbians. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted from December 2015-April 2016 in women's health centers in Israel, consisting of 184 registered nurses who completed self-report questionnaires. Results: Most (73.4%) had a prior acquaintance with lesbians; only 23.3% had been educated as to lesbians' unique health needs; 60% were unaware of the importance of knowing the patient's sexual orientation. Most held negative attitudes towards lesbians and their treatment. Approximately 50% maintained a low subjective norm in relation to providing perinatal care of lesbians. The mean score of intention to deliver equal prenatal care to lesbians was extremely high, 4.6 out of 5. A significant correlation was found between nurses' perceptions as to the quality of perinatal care of lesbians and their attitudes with respect to treatment of lesbians, subjective norms, behavioral intention and assessment of their relationship and communication with lesbians. Conclusions: There is an inherent lack of knowledge relating to the unique health needs of lesbians. Most nurses intended to dispense equal care to lesbians. The results indicate that components defined by the Theory of Reasoned Action (Ajzen & Fishbein, 1975, 1980), predicted nurses' perceptions regarding prenatal care to lesbians.
Keywords: Nurses, lesbians, quality of perinatal care.
Sharona Tzur-Peled professor at Dina Academic School of Nursing, Rabin Medical Centre, Petah Tikva, Israel