Cultural Safety in Clinical Practice

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In the perspective of cultural safety, culture is broadly defined to include ethnicity, customs, tradition, beliefs and values as well as socioeconomic status, age, gender, sexual orientation, religious and spiritual beliefs, ethnic/immigration status, values and disabilities (NCNZ, 2011). Culture is about ways of doing things and it can be learned and changed (Jarvis, 2012). Ethnicity on the other hand a is a form of identification or belonging to a social group bonded by common history and cultural tradition hence, people of the same ethnicity may share a common language, religion, food, dress, and have a common sense of identity. (Brown & Edwards, 2012). New Zealand (NZ) is a multi-cultural society composed of peoples from various…show more content…
This encounter referred to as biculturalism, is an important aspect of cultural safety. This means that the interaction between a nurse and a patient is always considered bicultural as this involves the nurse’s culture and that of the patient’s. In this contact there is hidden power structure and a dominant culture (Henderson, 2003; Jarvis, 2012; Papps & Ramsden, 1996). As stated earlier, in New Zealand the colonisation British enabled them to dominate over all aspects of New Zealand’s way of life and culture, hence in the health care setting, the non-Maori culture prevails. As a culturally safe practice, nurses should learn to respect and acknowledge the culture of the care recipient whether it similar or different from them. Recipients of cares should be encouraged to participate and utilize their culture in managing their health and treatment (Papps & Ramsden, 1996). The nurse’s self awareness of one’s culture while acknowledging and respecting another’s is a fundamental requirement in order to practice cultural safety in nursing (Papps & Ramsden, 1996; Polaschek, 1998; Robinson et al., 1996). Cultural safe practice embodies the essential elements of the Treaty of Waitangi which advocates for the principles of partnership, protection and participation within the health system. Based on the principles of partnership nurses should work
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