Opposition to Cultural Safety
There are many barriers that health care practitioners face when trying to provide culturally safe care. One of the most powerful barriers is the dominance of bio-medicine. Cultural safety challenges the current power structures within the institution of medicine. It challenges some of the traditional teachings of nursing.
It requires that “culturally safe practitioners…move beyond the critical self-reflective to engage in actions that address the broader sociopolitical and economic determinants…of health and challenge the taken-for-granted processes and practices that continue to marginalize…this demands, therefore, advocacy and the creation of multiple clinical pathways for clients that extend beyond biomedical models” (Smye et al., 2010, pp. 15).
This is not an easy task. Challenging dominant power relations never is.
For this discussion, answer the following questions:
1. If it is possible to improve the wellbeing of a client by implementing the principles of cultural safety, why would anyone oppose doing so?
2. Culturally safe practices challenge existing power relations in many ways. Describe how.
3. Most of the burden (as well as the opportunities) involved with implementing cultural safety is currently being placed onto the shoulders of individual nurses. Explain why you think this is.
4. Given what you have learned, do you think it is possible to practice cultural safety in nursing at this moment in Canada? Why or why not?