Let’s say the average person starts school at the age of three and graduates high school at the age of 18. At six hours a day for 180 days a year, that would mean the average person spends a minimum of 16,200 hours at school in their lifetime — 16,200!

With students spending so much of their time at school, major shifts have been made in recent years to focus more attention towards training teachers, administrators, and nurses to better understand LGBTQ matters and the many ways to best help students.

In honor of School Nurse Day, we’re sharing a few ways that nurses, in particular, are in a unique position to have a major impact on LGBTQ students.

Nurses are seen as medical professionals.

Having someone in the medical field tell you that being gay, bisexual, or transgender is okay and normal can have a major effect on how students view and accept themselves.

Nurses are trustworthy.

Because nurses can’t disclose certain personal information to a student’s parents, like their sexuality or gender identity, students are often more likely to trust and confide in them. Even being “out” to just one person can bring comfort to an LGBTQ student.

Nurses act as a link between school and the community.

School nurses “can be an excellent gateway to support LGBT young people,” said Dr. Justin Varney, national lead for adult health and wellbeing at Public Health England. Not only can nurses help students during school hours, but many of them can help students find support groups and health clinics within their area.

“As healthcare professionals, we all have a duty to support lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans young people to achieve their potential to have happy and healthy lives and be a safe space for them to turn to when they need help and support,” concluded Varney.