‘Cultural safety’ works against multicultural society aims

Some time ago, I came across the term “cultural safety.”

Some time ago, I came across the term “cultural safety.”

This term was developed in New Zealand in the early 1980s in response to Maori discontent with the nursing system.

In reference to nursing care, the term requires nurses to be respectful of nationality, culture, age, sex, political and religious beliefs.

This is in direct contrast with nursing care that requires nurses to deliver services to patients regardless of any of these.

Cultural safety allows a nurse to establish a more trusting relationship with the patient.

In turn, this will empower the patient to see themselves within the system of care instead of on the outside and thereby leading to more open communication.

By recognizing that indigenous people bring with them unique values, beliefs, and customs health professionals are in a position to provide better care.

In education the same can be said for colleges and universities.

Most Canadian post-secondary institutions were built upon an academic culture that was well established hundreds of years ago in Great Britain.

Through time and colonization many countries adopted the same western attitudes and models of education.

Forcing aboriginal children to attend residential schools in the past century is a perfect example of imposing an educational system that didn’t take into account the values, beliefs, language and customs of an ethnic group.

This negative history of education policies along with a multitude of other factors impacts on Canadian aboriginal post-secondary participation rates.

In 2006, 35 per cent of the aboriginal population aged 25 to 64 had a post-secondary credential in comparison to 51 per cent of the non-aboriginal population.

Aboriginal students also have higher high school dropout rates and lower literacy rates have been and continue to be a problem for aboriginal communities that are located in isolated communities.

To provide a culturally safe environment for aboriginal students many colleges and universities have provided space and funding for on-campus aboriginal student centres.

At Okanagan College each of our campuses has an aboriginal centre where aboriginal mentors work with aboriginal students to help them find educational success.

Most post-secondary institutions could improve the learning experience for aboriginal students by providing aboriginal content within a number of courses, which are predominately western focused.

These courses would require a shift in curriculum where the focus may include theory and knowledge from an aboriginal perspective.

Finally, professors and instructors need to realize that not all of their students come from the same western culture. Like nurses, they too need to be aware of the different values, customs and beliefs aboriginal students (and international students) may bring to the classroom.

The term cultural safety is more than just nursing care, it can impact on just about any organization or professional who works within a multicultural society.

Jane Muskens is the registrar at Okanagan College.

muskens@okanagan.bc.ca

Just Posted

Car thief nabbed by Mounties on wildfire duty

RCMP working wildfires deploy spike belt to nab alleged auto thief from Oliver.

Okanagan Wildfires: An evening update on wildfires and evacuations

A Saturday evening look at the major wildfires impacting the Okanagan and Similkameen.

Update: Mount Eneas wildfire holds at 1,374 hectares

Fire chief Dennis Craig said wind was blowing the fire away from homes

Update: Power restored to 2,000 Lake Country homes

The cause of the outage is unknown

Update: Okanagan Mountain Park fire holds at 400 hectares

The wildfire, also called Goode’s Creek wildfire, continues to burn near Kelowna

BC Games: Day 2 comes to an end

Hundreds of medals have been handed out at the 2018 BC Summer Games in the Cowichan Valley

B.C. mining company, involved in 2014 spill, ordered to pay lost wages

Mount Polley Mining Company must pay wages to 26 employees who were laid off without proper notice

Update: Wildfire near Summerland mapped at 118 hectares

The Mount Conkle wildfire is 90 per cent guarded

Two significant wildfires burning in southeastern B.C.

More than 20 fires were burning in the Southeast Fire Centre as of Saturday afternoon

Volunteers provide the glue that keeps BC Games moving

The 2018 Cowichan Summer Games had more than 2,300 volunteers on hand across Vancouver Island

No Name brand chicken nuggets recalled due to possible salmonella

Canadian Food Inspection Agency says multiple illnesses reported in B.C., Alberta and Ontario

Lodeiro scores twice to help Sounders beat Whitecaps 2-0

Seattle’s Nicolas Lodeiro opened the scoring in the fifth minute when he converted a penalty kick

RDOS fire update: emergency social services moved

Centre moved to Penticton Memorial Arena for Saturday and Sunday

Race walker breaks 18-year-old BC Games record

Zone 6 athlete Olivia Lundman crossed finish line with ease, to loud cheers in Cowichan

Most Read