Cultural Safety in Nursing
Cultural safety in nursing means the effective nursing practice of an individual or family from a different culture which is identified by that individual or family. It is also the standard which healthcare providers see to aspire. It was thus established to govern practitioners through setting and monitoring standards that facilitate safe and competent care for the public (Papps & Ramsden, 1996). Cultural safety takes us beyond cultural awareness as well as the acknowledgment of the differences. It surpasses the cultural sensitivity that identifies the significance of respecting differences. As a result, cultural safety assists people to understand the limitations regarding cultural competence, which is aimed at the practitioners’ attitudes, knowledge, and skills (ANAC, 2000). It is also concerned with the power relationships between the nurses and the individuals they take care of as well as the experience of the recipient of care. Cultural safety also means an understanding of one’s own culture and acknowledging the differences by being respectful and mindful to them. It originated in New Zealand in response to the poor health status of the Maori indigenous people (Wepa, 2015). It was then introduced in nursing education courses as one of the outcomes required to be registered as a nurse.
Cultural safety is necessary as it enables care providers to improve health care access for patients and other populations. Therefore, by ensuring access to primary healthcare, this improves the health outcomes of these people. Cultural safety facilitates access to healthcare through getting rid of barriers such as high cost of healthcare, experiences of racism and discrimination, and poor communication with health care professionals. Also, cultural safety improves access by tailoring the services to the needs of the patients. This is because culturally safe healthcare services are more likely to be free from racism and discrimination than mainstream services (Durey, 2010). Additionally, cultural safety will tend to employ indigenous staff who can speak the local language, and as a result, people can access the services. As a result, cultural safety improves access to health services by having improved experiences for people accessing the services.
Cultural safety is significant in healthcare, as it acknowledges that we are all bearers of culture. This is by the fact that we all belong to a certain gender, occupation, age, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, ethnic origin, disabilities, or religious beliefs. Cultural competency can hence be developed by reflecting on our attitudes, values, and beliefs, as well as how they can influence our understanding of the cultural norms of others. Cultural safety, thus, acknowledges that differences exist. Also, it helps practitioners to be culturally sensitive by recognizing the need to respect cultural differences (Chenowethm et al., 2006). Besides, cultural safety helps practitioners to have the knowledge and behave in ways that are sensitive to culture to help them provide quality care to diverse people.
Cultural safety in healthcare is important because it challenges unequal power relations. According to Diffey and Levallee (2016), cultural safety represents two concepts: addressing power imbalances and challenging privilege. Therefore, culturally safe practice is based on critical self-reflection, which aims to get rid of oppression and racism. Cultural safety facilitates reflecting on a person’s privilege as well as how it relates to the power differential between the patient-provider relationship. This is because the healthcare provider tends to move from reflection into active practices that address inequities, challenge stereotypes, and ensure self-determination with indigenous patients. New partnerships which are based on respect and understanding between the indigenous communities and providers are thus developed through the use of culturally safe methods. Also, the practitioners can bring stronger attention to indigenous health and perform their practice effectively as the patient remains in control through patient-centered care. Moreover, cultural safety manages unequal power relations by ensuring that the culture and identity of other people are respected (Sean Yaphe, Richer & Martin, 2019). It thus, recommends cultural competency training for all healthcare professionals in intercultural competency, conflict resolution, human rights, and anti-racism
Cultural safety is important as it helps people to understand a culture by exposing them to the historical, political, and social contexts of healthcare. Individuals are therefore able to have the political accounts for health disparities and health inequities among indigenous communities. Cultural safety examines the underlying social determinants of health as well as how colonization has impacted indigenous people and continues to impact them through policy and legislation (Yeung, 2016). It also helps in effective and culturally safe communication among people as well as nursing interactions with indigenous people. Cultural safety is also responsible for inclusivity through increased awareness and insights, which are part of the engagement process and building relations with indigenous people. In addition, it helps to respect the indigenous people for who they are. It also involves effective communication and collaboration with every practitioner in providing effective healthcare to indigenous people and their families. Cultural safety also means respect for indigenous cultures, and it also entails working with them to improve their health. Moreover, cultural safety allows practitioners to support people, and thus, this fosters their health (Ibid, 2016). As a result, the patient-practitioner relationship is redefined using cultural safety model which ensure that patients are valued.
In conclusion, cultural safety is an important aspect that healthcare providers need to take into consideration. This is because it is an outcome which is defined and experienced by those who receive the service. Patients feel safe based on respectful engagement, which can assist them in finding ways to well-being. Cultural safety is, therefore, necessary through helping care providers to improve health care access. It has also been pivotal in addressing the challenge of unequal power relations as well as racism, discrimination, and prejudice. As a result, cultural safety practices should be utilized by healthcare providers to improve their services.