My experience in the Northern Territory, working as an Aboriginal Health Worker, set the scene for my current and future aspirations in nursing and academia.
Recent meaningful changes to the Australian nursing code of conduct has sparked great debate.
Why? Because there are still barriers hindering the change in practice needed for nurses and academics to achieve equality in health and life expectancy.
Despite the Council of Australian Governments’ closing the gap effort over the last 10 years, Australian nursing leaders have identified that we, as Indigenous people, are still experiencing poorer health outcomes than our fellow Australians.
For the first time in my 20 years’ of healthcare experience, this critical reality prompted Australia’s mainstream and Indigenous nursing leaders of The Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses and Midwives (CATSINaM) to endorse the Cultural Safety Model, created by a Maori nurse leader Irihapeti Merenia Ramsden (2002).
After the publication of many misinformed stories, the following joint statement was released to validate the meaningful changes made to the Australian nursing code of conduct.
Cultural safety: Nurses and midwives leading the way for safer healthcare – http://www.nursingmidwiferyboard.gov.au/News/2018-03-23-joint-statement.aspx
As an Indigenous nurse, I am thankful for what our nursing leaders have been able to achieve.
This model is not about our Indigenous community sharing its culture with the rest of Australia. Instead, it’s about the nurse who cares for the Indigenous patient and they deliver their care.
To quote the amazing Chief Executive Officer of CATSINaM Janine Mohamed
‘Cultural Safety is knowing thy self’
If applied effectively, Ramsden’s Cultural Safety Model has the ability to start closing the gap.
Please take 10 minutes to listen from a couple of experts in this space
So are we there yet? No.
But, if we can deconstruct our current nursing practices and implement Indigenous-led methodologies in higher education, and be brave enough to have truthful and respectful conversations about our colonial past, we might begin to understand the effects still felt through transgenerational trauma. And, we could nurse and care for those in a safer manner for all.
This year’s theme for NADIOC is One Close to My Heart. I know I would not be here if I didn’t stand on the shoulders of giants, primarily in our community.
To the female activists, who are not afraid to speak out against inequality, I salute you.