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Career advice

Out and on the way up

Helen Lushpenko-Brown decided to find out how colleagues’ career trajectories were affected by being open about their sexuality, just as she had been.
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Helen Lushpenko-Brown decided to find out how colleagues’ career trajectories were affected by being open about their sexuality, just as she had been

As a lesbian nurse, I have been exhausted for most of my career by thinking through my actions and words constantly before answering questions about my private life.

I was afraid of making my sexual orientation known because of concerns about how I would be judged. This took huge effort and energy and often distracted me from my work.

On reflection, it has become apparent that my advancement in nursing began only when I became open about my sexual orientation.

The UK health and social care sector employs around 2.6 million people. The government estimates that 6 per cent of the population is lesbian, gay or bisexual (LGB) – this is around 156,000 people in the health and social care workforce.

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