Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Jean S. Coffey



There is a relative dearth of information regarding transgender patient perceptions of healthcare provider interactions and experiences. Previous studies have examined the experiences of transgender patients across multiple generations.


This research focuses on understanding the lived experience of transgender college-aged students receiving healthcare. The goal of this research is to help inform the practices of healthcare providers in order to improve care experiences.


Hermeneutic phenomenology was utilized to illuminate the lived experiences of three college-aged transgender patients receiving healthcare. Interviews were conducted with research participants. After transcription, interview content was read and re-read for significant statements. Significant statements were then grouped to identify themes.


Theme 1: provider knowledge. Study participants noted that provider knowledge was associated with several behaviors and impacted their feelings regarding the experience and willingness to seek future healthcare. The trans-friendly provider was identified as a provider who uses preferred language, shares decision-making, and is aware of medical treatments.

Theme 2: being defined. Study participants felt defined through a variety of provider interactions. These included experiences wherein providers question timelines of transition and question the patient regarding their identity using static terminology.

Theme 3: loss of power. Participants noted the experience of loss of control when receiving healthcare. Loss of control was felt in a variety of ways including: loss of control over naming, identity, and care decisions.


This research begins to identify emerging themes expressed by transgender college-aged patients. By identifying these themes, future research can be conducted to further clarify patient feelings associated with their experiences in seeking healthcare in order to inform provider behaviors. More research is needed regarding transgender patient experiences receiving healthcare and whether these experiences impact health outcomes.



Number of Pages

36 p.