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Australia Indigenous groups hit back over white privilege code for nurses - News - Nurses Arena Forum

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Australia Indigenous groups hit back over white privilege code for nurses by katty : March 26, 2018, 11:02:29 AM
IT’S the two words that have the medical profession divided — “white privilege”.

Last week it was reported that nurses and midwives around the country were subject to a new code of conduct that declares “cultural safety is as important as clinical safety” and requires “the acknowledgment of white privilege”.

The new code, which came into effect in March, was labelled “cultural madness”.



“This is eye-watering stuff,” Graeme Haycroft from the Nurses Professional Association of Queensland told Sky News host Peta Credlin.

“We’re calling for the resignation of the chairman of the board (Associate Professor Lynette Cusack) because she’s put her name to (the new code) and it’s unacceptable.”

But indigenous groups say they’re “stunned” by commentary around the new code and that the acknowledgment of white privilege within the nursing profession is long overdue and completely necessary.

“It is clear ... that Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander peoples still experience poorer health outcomes than non-indigenous Australians,” Janine Mohamed from the Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses and Midwives said.

She cited the 2018 Closing the Gap report tabled by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull which states that the target to close the health gap between the two groups is “not on track”.

“It is well understood inequities are a result of the colonisation process and the many discriminatory policies to which Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander Australians were subjected to, and the ongoing experience of discrimination today,” Ms Mohamed said.

The Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia hit back at claims by Mr Haycroft that there was no consultation and that the majority of nurses and midwives were opposed to the new code.

Others joined the board in support of the new code.


“I was stunned to read (Mr Haycroft’s) comments regarding nurses and indigenous Australians on the weekend, as part of his criticism of the new NMBA Codes and the term ‘cultural safety’ which is defined in a glossary connected to the codes,” Queensland Nurses and Midwives Union Secretary Beth Mohle said.

“These codes were the subject of lengthy consultations with the professions of nursing and midwifery and other stakeholders including community representatives. This review was comprehensive and evidenced-based.”

She said the codes were written “by nurses and midwives for nurses and midwives” and sought to “ensure the individual needs and backgrounds of each patient are taken into account during treatment”.

During a segment dedicated to the new code on Sky News last week, Ms Credlin suggested nurses must now “announce” their white privilege before treating patients. That, of course, is incorrect.

“Before (a midwife) delivers a baby to an indigenous woman she’s supposed to put her hands up and say: ‘I need to talk to you about my white privilege’, not about my infection control, my qualifications or my training as a midwife?” she asked Mr Haycroft.

He said that was correct, but there’s no requirement to “announce” anything, a point rammed home by Ms Mohle.

“The entire premise for the (Sky News) segment was false,” she said.

“There is no requirement for nurses to apologise for being white, which would be very awkward for the more than 1500 indigenous nurses across Australia and the countless others who also aren’t white to begin with.

“There’s no doubt cultural factors, including how a patient feels while within the health system, can impact wellbeing. For example, culture and background often determine how a patient would prefer to give birth or pass away.

“Every day, nurses and midwives consider a range of complex factors, including a patient’s background and culture to determine the best treatment. These codes simply articulate what is required to support safe nursing and midwifery practice for all.”

A number of organisations, including the Australian College of Nursing, released statements in support of the new code.
Source : Newsapi

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