Cultural safety in nursing

Essay by l3loodUniversity, Bachelor's November 2006

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The meaning of the term culture in nursing has changed significantly in recent decades. Culture may be seen as the learned, shared value and beliefs of a particular group (Spence, 2001). Cultural expression assumes many forms, including language, traditions, stress, pain, anger, sorrow, spirituality, decision making and even world philosophy (Catalano, 2006).Cultural safety is a process that involves the individual knowing of their self and their own culture, becoming aware of, respectful of, and sensitive to different cultures, asking who is at risk, preventing unsafe situations, and creating a culturally safe environment (Wood and Schwass, 1993).

During my first night shift at clinical placement, I provided care for Anna (pseudonym), an 85- year old Maori lady, who was admitted to the ward following suicide attempt, which was related to the second anniversary of her husband's death. She had a 20 year history of depression. On admission Anna was agitated and fearful, stating that she could not do almost anything that was requested of her.

She had some disorganized ideas. For example, she thought she would be scalded by meals, or accidentally fall out of a window.

We had just finished our handover when Anna rang the bell. I went to her room and found her sitting on the chair."Good evening Anna," I said." My name is Parisa. I am your nurse tonight". Anna looked worried and replied: "I am not sure if I have enough clothes!!!. " From the handover briefing I had understood that she was worrying about not having enough clothes. So I opened the door of the wardrobe and reassured her that she had plenty of clothes. Then I told her she needed to come back to her bed and have a rest. I helped her get back into the bed.

Twenty minutes later, while I was...