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Cultural Safety of Indigenous Clients and Nursing

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Title: Discussion of tools and strategies for culturally safe care for Indigenous Australians. Abstract: This essay explores and discusses tools and strategies that promote culturally safe care for Indigenous Australians by Health Professionals. It discusses Hildegard Peplau's nursing theory and specific strategies that may be employed in culturally safe care of Indigenous Australians, including communication techniques and concerns about taboos. Introduction: The health care professionals responsibilities and actions are important to ensure that care that is appropriate and culturally safe is delivered to Indigenous clients of Australia. This paper will discuss a framework of communication tools and strategies that can be used to ensure cultural safety of indigenous clients and discuss the beliefs of indigenous Australians in regards to identity, rituals, traditions, folklore and social and health disadvantages and the need for cultural sensitivity in caring for indigenous Australians. Body: Culturally competent care can be defined as care that is given to people of a culture, other than ones own, that is considerate and respectful of internal beliefs systems within that client (Omeri 2003). Hildegard Peplau was a nursing theorist who designed a model of nursing practice that built on the belief that nursing should be about what nurses do with the patient and not what they do to the patient (Sheldon 2005). The three phases of Peplau's theory are the orientation phase, the working phase and the resolution phase. ...read more.


then they would have good health, so admitting to illness or the lack of strength of character to follow taboos may cause distress in a public way when they attend hospitals or health centres (Maher 1999). Knowledge of intrinsic and external factors that bring Aboriginals to present themselves at hospitals needs to be acknowledged by the carers, because as Medicine Australia (2006) points out, experiences of the past in relation to large buildings and hospitals are linked to Aboriginals thinking of these as a threat. It is important for the carer to promote feelings of safety and security when indigenous people attend a health centre or hospital. This can be done through sensitive communication and active listening for the cultural needs of the client. Queensland Health points out that the way a carer addresses clients, and the situation presenting have significant effect on Aboriginal Australians. Maher also (1999, p. 3 of 9) points out that aboriginals have clear roles within their communities relating to gender and health care. There is 'mens business' and 'womens business' and breaches to the confines of this business will bring shame and distress. Carers should be aware of the needs of nurse gender relationship constraints in care of aboriginals. Aboriginals prefer same sex caring and for aboriginal women it is important that a male not be left in the room alone with her (Maher 1999). ...read more.


Factors described that prevent indigenous Australians from presenting at health centres in a timely way include distance, transport, finances, social supports, disability, timing, paperwork, fear and cultural hesitation as they are obligated more strongly to their family than they are to their own well being. It is important in the nurse/client relationship with indigenous Australians that the carer has an understanding of the amount of emotional effort it takes for an Aboriginal Australian to attend a hospital or health centre. First impressions then, especially of support for the client are of vital importance. The carer needs to provide communication that promotes respect and understanding utilizing skills of active listening and body language that is appropriate, such as lack of eye contact, and strategies that promote cultural safety such as not leaving a female client alone with a male doctor. Conclusion: By ensuring communication approaches and techniques are appropriate and culturally safe, the nurse promotes an environment and experience of the mainstream health system that is conducive to the care of culturally diverse peoples. Brown (2001) points out that a closer liason between workers and Australian Indigenous peoples will ensure reconciliation, healing and improved holistic health. This paper outlines the importance of initial contact with ?Aboriginal Australians and recommends a level of awareness for cultural care that advocates active communication techniques that are appropriate and based on individual needs. Cultural safety is an important consideration for care of all clients and should be kept uppermost in the approach method of all health care workers. ...read more.

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