Cultural Safety In Clinical Practice Essay

2078 words - 8 pages

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 ethnicities. NZ population is composed of 74% European; 15% Maori; 12% Asian, 7% Pacific peoples, and 1% Middle Eastern / Latin American / African. Aside from the English language (96%), the other common languages used in NZ are te reo Maori (3.7%), Samoan (2.2%), Hindi (1.7%), Chinese (1.3%) and French (1.2%). Almost 42% of New Zealanders does not have religion and the largest Christian denominations are the Catholics, Anglicans and Presbyterians (SNZ, 2014). This means that nurses in New Zealand are now interacting with different types of people from diverse cultural backgrounds.
In the clinical setting, nurses are believed to spend the most time with patients. This involves regularly dealing with people coming from different ethnicities and with different cultural practices and beliefs (Brown & Edwards, 2012). Given this cultural diversity, every patient may have his/her own cultural beliefs and practices regarding his/her own health and its treatment which can be similar or different to those of the nurses, other health professionals or to the institution providing the care. Hence, it is important for nurses to understand and acknowledge a person’s individuality and cultural identity in order to provide an appropriate nursing care suitable to the individual’s well-being or to practice cultural safely in the workplace (Brown & Edwards, 2012; Jarvis, 2012).
The concept of cultural safety in nursing practice in New Zealand evolved as a result the economic, social and cultural marginalization of the Maori despite the provisions in the Treaty of Waitangi guaranteeing equality among Maori and non-Maori. The Treaty of Waitangi is the founding document defining the rules of the British colonisation (Papps & Ramsden, 1996; Polaschek, 1998; Robinson, Kearns, & Dyck, 1996). The increasing incidence in mortality and morbidity among Maori prompted the review on the implementation of the Treaty in relation to nursing practice (Papps & Ramsden, 1996). In this context, it was learned that the British colonizers represented by the Crown not only forcibly took over the economic power from the Maori but also introduced and imposed their own Western culture thereby disempowering the Maori in all aspects of their lives including...

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