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Kia ora and welcome to the second edition of Cultural Safety in Aotearoa New Zealand. It has been almost 20 years since cultural safety education became an integral part of the nursing and midwifery curriculum. A testament to the longevity of cultural safety has been its ability to remain relevant within the 21st century. Such relevance has culminated into the Nursing Council of New Zealand’s (2011) Guidelines for Cultural Safety, the Treaty of Waitangi and Māori Health in Nursing Education and Practice.
This edition builds on the first edition of Cultural Safety in Aotearoa New Zealand whereby chapters have been reviewed due to feedback from the health and education sector. The end result has been the inclusion of chapters focused on whānau-centred practice, disability and competence. Chapter 2, written by professionals from the Nursing Council of New Zealand (‘the Nursing Council’) on competencies required for registered nurses’ scope of practice, is of significance within this second edition. Direct passages from the Nursing Council’s competencies are linked to real-life experiences so that students can become familiar with such requirements at an earlier stage within their respective programmes.
As with the first edition, the first three chapters set the scene with a discussion on the concepts within cultural safety and historical events that led to its inclusion by schools of nursing and midwifery. The foundations of cultural safety follow with six chapters focusing on concepts around culture, ethnicity, the Treaty of Waitangi, prejudice, ethics and research.
In this second edition of Cultural Safety in Aotearoa New Zealand, editor Dianne Wepa presents a range of theoretical and practice-based perspectives adopted by experienced educators who are active in cultural safety education. Thoroughly revised to incorporate the latest methods and research, this edition reflects updates in government policies and nursing practices, and features new chapters on ethical considerations when working cross-culturally, as well as the legislative requirements of the Nursing Council of New Zealand. Each chapter includes key terms and concepts, practice examples providing content from healthcare workers' everyday experiences, reflective questions to encourage the assimilation of ideas into practice, and references to allow further exploration of the issues discussed. Cultural Safety in Aotearoa New Zealand will equip students, tutors, managers, policy analysts and others involved in the delivery of healthcare with the tools to acknowledge the importance of cultural difference in achieving health and well-being in diverse communities.
The common catch-phrase ‘Culture! We don’t have a culture!’ is often the reply to the question: ‘What is your culture?’ when it is posed to New Zealanders today. Since the implementation of cultural safety in the schools of nursing and midwifery, students have been introduced to concepts that were not as evident in most programmes prior to the early 1990s. Topics such as culture and the dynamics of power are now commonplace within these programmes. Similarly, with the movement towards ‘doing with’ as opposed to ‘doing for’ the client, students are required to possess an awareness of their values, beliefs, biases and prejudices. The first step towards cultural safety, therefore, is for a person to have sufficient awareness of their own culture.
So, for many students who ascribe to the dominant culture and values in Aoteroa New Zealand, they may well ask the question: ‘Why do I need to learn about my culture?’ This is particularly difi cult for students to reflect on if they believe that they are just ‘normal’ and culture is something Maˉ ori or immigrants possess. The short answer is that once there is clarity about people’s own values and beliefs (which are key components of culture) and how they affect their living, then they are in a better position to appreciate that other people do things differently. Nurses and midwives work with people from a range of cultures and circumstances. To be effective, therefore, they must become aware of their own culture and the impact this has on their practice. Nurses and midwives can unknowingly place other people’s cultural perspectives at risk. This is exhibited when people avoid going to a health service because they perceive the health professional to be disrespectful of their cultural practices and traditions.