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LGBTQ Nurse Encounters Discrimination at Work

Cody Hererra is a 21 year old RN and student at UNG.

On Wednesday, Feb. 17, Cody Herrera from Gainesville was interviewed on the behalf of his job. He works at Northside Hospital Forsyth and goes to college at the University of North Georgia and is only 21 years of old, but that is not the only interesting thing – Cody is also part of the LGBTQ community which gets noticed at his job as a RN nurse.

Herrera has been working at his job for more than 3 years now, but still is going to school because he wants to continue his studies and get more degrees in the medical field. The medical field is not easy to begin with, but it’s harder when the people you want to help discriminate against you.

He has many stories about patients calling him inappropriate words like “fag” and “homo” to the point that it feels more comfortable being called “gay,” but he should not be facing these types of discrimination to begin with.

One of the stories that stood out the most was about an old man calling him a “faggot” the moment he entered the room while attempting to talk about his medication. The man demanded a different nurse and Herrera explained to him that there was not enough staff to switch nurses. The man became violent, spit in Herrera’s face and pulled him down by the arm when he kept trying to get the patient to take his medication. After Herrera found help to calm the patient, the man screamed and threw things claiming that the “gayness infected him” after touching Herrera. They eventually switched the patient to another nurse, but Herrera was not okay with it and reported it. Unfortunately there was nothing administration could do since it was a patient that did it and not another coworker.

Herrera believes people are like this because of lack of education on the LGBTQ community, but he has noticed a pattern: most of the time the discrimination and harassment come from the older generation. He hopes that one day things will change, but it will take time. He stated that there are times where he has thought about changing his career or quitting his job, but at end of the day he loves helping people and can not give up on his dreams because of some rough patches in the road.

“I help people because it is a calling”- Cody Herrera

The best advice he highlighted was to be strong-hearted and keep your composure, but this goes out to anyone that working in the medical field. The advice he gave for the LGBTQ community was, “if they want to go into the medical field, perhaps don’t work in southern hospitals,” because he also faces a lot of racism.

“Love yourself and who are a lot because there are going to be really hard days in the medical field, and make sure it is what you want to do because that will push you everyday even if it feels like you’re all alone.”

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LGBTQ Nurse Encounters Discrimination at Work