Monday, May 10, 2010

Cultural Safety

Yesterday I attended a cultural safety, ethics and rehab presentation which sparked a few reflections on my current practice.

The phrase power relationship - applys alot to working in an acute medical ward where health professionals are seen as having more power over their patients.
This doesnt settle well with me. I wish to relflect and explore whether I as a professional impose power on my patients.

Also I am aware of an article from the NZJOT titled "Cultural Safety, Kawa Whakaruruhau: An occupational therapy perspective". This article really reinforces what the speaker (an occupational therapist) was emphasising

a) the importance of being aware, sensitive and safe in attitude and behaviour

b) the importances of understanding yourself (as a person and professional)and the systems in which they work and live towards cultural competence

c)not ignoring sociopolitical and power relationships that margalinise so many groups in society

I guess what I am trying to say is that being culturally safe is more than knowing about values and beliefs and customs of spectific cultures.
Its about...
Ot's understanding themselves (identify, attitudes, values, beliefs) and how those influence their working relationship with others in context of family, social and work groups. Its also involves broader terms of sociopolitical understandings (impact of poverty on occupation)
Overall an understanding of the person, environment and occupation are all important for cultural safety.

So how can I ensure I am practicing in a culturally safe manner?

a) not forcing a value system on a client
b)exposing the client to a range of possibilites
c) the client is the one who makes the choice
d) being open to the clients ideas, feelings and thoughts - and being open to repsonding to them

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