It has been two weeks since I have started Uni and I’m slowly enjoying it more and more after attending a few different classes. Since the tutorials for the Professional Practices and Cultural Safety unit in Bachelor of Nursing start in the following week, I went through lecture notes and took down key concepts so that I could have a better understanding of the topic and not fall behind.
As for now going into this unit learning about cultural safety, I thought the focus would be more towards getting to know about different cultures and beliefs as to only addressing the differences in their ‘socio-economic status’, ‘power relations’ and etc.
So, I’m not quite sure if I’m enjoying it as much as I would love to but then again, it is only my second week.
In high-school I did health as one of my subjects and we pretty much covered most of the topics that this unit brings, which helps me a lot in a way.
Things like ‘person centred care’ and ‘beliefs’, are important to learn in nursing, I mean other than just cleaning patients and doing their beds, being a nurse is a career that I would say as high as being privileged. We’re giving out a lot of ourselves emotionally and physically as we’re going to be there for births, deaths and many more of their valued moments in life.
Polaschek (2001, p. 452-457) concludes that “the effects on the health care system of inequalities in power between groups in society are addressed we cannot ensure that the needs of persons from minority cultures will be met”.
Although our jobs as nurses are not to cure the illnesses of patients, but we’re there to lead them into a better path of wellbeing. With that realisation, it gives me the opportunity to allow and better myself as a future nurse who treats everyone with the same value and respect.
This week I’ve attended my first tutorial in this unit and learnt about cultural safety and how important my culture is as well as the many different cultures I am surrounded with daily. The way I view culture is essentially the way someone lives their life and how it impacts/shape a person’s identity whilst also determining what they believe in, the way they dress, what they eat and how they experience life.
In class, I learnt that we all understand and go through life differently depending on how we were raised, what we choose to believe in and what we’ve experienced. After having a group discussion about our different cultures, I was surprised that some students saw culture as an individual behaviour rather than a specific group’s lifestyle in society, so it’s interesting for them as individuals since their culture will constantly be changing. Another example of a difference some of us had were the rituals we had to do differently. As a Muslim, my ritual is to pray 5 times a day and as for the Christians, they would go to church every Sunday.
What stood out for me during this tutorial was learning the cultural safety in itself isn’t just about how culturally different people are but in fact how differently we, as a society treat them. In the nursing environment, it’s known that we’re going to consistently meet diverse groups of individuals in the facility, so having a discussion with the class about cultural safety was important and also needed for us in order to take care of all our patients in the future and to maintain being culturally competent.
According to Alex McClimens (2013, para 4) for the sake of our own professional development and as future nurses, to provide the understanding of the patient’s environment, religious beliefs and culture, we need to educate and train ourselves to work in areas where it is culturally diverse so that we can have a positive effect on the patient’s health and wellbeing.
After reading the required materials of the texts, I learnt that the nurse’s ‘code of conduct’ as well as ‘code of ethics’ readings composed of compiled set of information that was made to outline what is expected of us as nurses from our co-workers and the rest of the community. It also guides us into making the right choices through tough situations dealing with patient care that is patient-driven as much as possible. The code of ethics for nurses brings light to the values, beliefs and responsibilities that characterises our profession.
I believe that being brought up in your own culture, values and beliefs really influences the way we interact with people. Being culturally aware and respectful is important in the workplace because I personally feel troubled when there’s people who aren’t aware of their actions that are continuously making people around them feel uncomfortable, whether it is them unintentionally making disrespectful comments towards someone’s culture or being impolite about the differences in beliefs.
In my family, we were brought up to be kind and respectful towards everyone regardless of their race, beliefs, sexualities, etc. Understanding myself as a human being and the culture I was brought up in will help me relate to others with the same beliefs and values. Likewise, being aware of my own feelings and thoughts can determine the way I react in certain situations allowing me to learn to not approach the situation personally but rather in a more professional manner.
After understanding the readings given, I feel a stronger sense of responsibility to ensure patients who lack capability will have the correct support so that they can have their rights in place. I’m glad that I grasped onto the understanding that I have to continue to take care of the patients no matter the obstacle and always remember to make them feel comfortable with their surroundings
We were given a link to watch a short video of Stella Young addressing the way society views disabled people by objectifying them as objects of inspiration. After watching the video, I saw that her humour and honest talk was focused on to not mind the disability and to treat everyone with disability the same as any other ordinary person, regardless of their circumstances. She hated it when people would objectify and assume, she was ‘inspirational’ or ‘brave’ because of her disability.
When I first saw her picture, I unnoticeably was quick to assume she was someone who gave inspirational and motivational talks about the encounters she would face every day, doing the same things we all do but after watching and listening to her, I became aware of who she surely was. For me it was a natural instinct to give a first impression for someone who was a little different just because she was sat on a wheelchair. I guess it was a thought that I wasn’t aware of and more of just me being uninformed.
I learnt that in order to stick with my values of respecting everyone equally, I, first, need to be more careful of my language, and the way I think about people in such positions in a way where I have to clear through a sense of naivety, I think people would have. I honestly can say after picking up from what she said, I can definitely say it helped me begin to see myself and others differently in a way where we are all equal.
For a nurse in a healthcare environment, it is important we maintain a positive attitude in the workplace as it can get very stressful with all the chaos around. It’s important that we realise and remind ourselves of our professional values, attitude and behaviour and how it really does matter when dealing with people you’re not used to being around with, whether it be the differences in their religion, ethnicity, sexuality, ability or gender, it is never an excuse to treat anyone any differently.
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