Home | News | Cultural safety training to complement nursing code addition

Cultural safety training to complement nursing code addition

Nurses and midwives will soon have access to a cultural safety training course, the Indigenous Health Minister announced yesterday.

Ken Wyatt earmarked $350,000 to produce the Australian-first online course for those delivering frontline care to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The course will be spearheaded by the Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses and Midwives (CATSINaM).

CATSINaM chief executive Janine Mohamed said the organisation had been working on the project with the Government and other partners for the past five years.

“This training will not only support all nurses and midwives to meet the standards of their Codes of Practice, it will also embed cultural safety in the health system, improving healthcare and helping Close the Gap in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health outcomes,” said Mohamed.

Changes to the Code of Practice to include a cultural safety component made headlines early last year on the back of an opinion piece penned by Graeme Haycroft, president of breakaway union Nurses Professional Association of Queensland.

The code was updated to describe a shift from treating all patients the same way to rather providing care that takes into account the needs of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Haycroft voiced his concern that, should nurses not acknowledge their white privilege, a complaint could be lodged and the nurse could lose their registration – a claim flatly denied by the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia.

The Board, in a joint statement with CATSINaM, the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation, the Australian College of Nursing and the Australian College of Midwives, said it is well understood the inequities First Nations people face are a result of the colonisation process and the many discriminatory policies to which they were subjected to, as well as the ongoing experience of discrimination today.

“Culturally safe and respectful practice is not a new concept,” the statement read. “Nurses and midwives are expected to engage with all people as individuals in a culturally safe and respectful way, foster open, honest and compassionate professional relationships, and adhere to their obligations about privacy and confidentiality.

“All healthcare leaders and health professionals have a role to play in closing the gap.”

Wyatt said: “Everyone using health services in Australia should feel valued and respected throughout their consultation and aftercare.”

The new course will be adapted for Australia from a successful model developed by Indigenous leaders in Canada.

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