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In this task you will write a reflection about your anticipated nursing or health care practice. Choose a group that interests you from the diversity of ethnicities, religions, genders, sexualities and abilities in the Australian population.
How can I provide culturally safe health care to patients who belong to my chosen diverse group?
There are four required components to your reflection:
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The area related to medicine that still needs more attention and effort is the heath care of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia. The inequalities in health care between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians has been recognized to be the largest among the world by the World Health Organization (WHO) (Marmot et al., 2008). Despite of the fact that 70% of the Aboriginal and Indigenous population of Australia lives in major cities, the access to and utilization of available health care services by them is often quite low. The life expectancy of these people on an average is 9 to 10 years lesser than their non-indigenous counterparts (Collins & Kalisch). I feel that the health of an individual depends upon various factors over time, place and living style. Though genetic and biological factors make an individual susceptible to many diseases and disorders, certain social factors also have a great impact on the physical and mental health of the people. In case of these Aboriginal people these factors called the social determinants of health have been shown to contribute a lot towards the poor health aspects (Zubrick et al., 2014). These social determinants of health include a wide range of factors. The very basic cause is the social status of families and communities they live in. This determines their psychosocial status. These factors further extend to touch many other direct and indirect aspects of their life like education, housing, employment, income, poverty, lack of necessary resources, racism, and various other demographic and geographical factors.
Many studies have been conducted to deduce a relationship between health and these social determinants. They show that poor recognition and below average social status can result in stressed conditions and often push the individual towards the use of alcohol and smoking to release their stress. They start to lose control over their daily practices leading to the poor health of their own and their family. Some researches relate broader economic and political influences with poor health conditions. Poor monetary situation can limit the use of health care services even if they are available to the Aboriginal Islanders. Moreover, all these determinants are interlinked and do not exist in isolation from others (Zubrick et al., 2014). Racism has also been acknowledged as one of the major determinants of health and still prevails in the life of these indigenous people. A research conducted on national level reports that 27% of 15 years old children of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island have experienced the acts of racism in the last 12 months. It directly affects the life and health of an individual. They start limiting themselves from the social places like school, colleges and offices. It also alters the self-efficacy and self-esteem of the person leading him/her to more stress, substance use and self-harm (Priest, Paradies, Gunthorpe, Cairney, & Sayers, 2011). The problem of poor health of Aboriginal Australians is also attributed to their remote living. People living in remote locations have been shown to be more involved in smoking and having limited access to health services, thereby leading to poor health conditions. WHO CSDH emphasizes that these social factors are controllable and can be modified by bringing about some changes in our attitude and behavior. This will reduce the ill impact on health endorsing people with better physical and mental health by improving the present scenario.
I believe that nurses and midwives play a major role in successful implementation of various community controlled programs and campaigns initiated by the Australian government to deal with the gaps between the Aboriginal and Indigenous peoples living in urban, rural and remote areas. We nurses not only provide the Aboriginal people with the basic requirements of health care but also interact directly with these people when they are admitted for the acute care. We must adopt a comprehensive approach in delivering the best in term of advice and care for the admitted patients along with understanding the local traditions of these islanders. There is a need for the nurses to look into the social determinants of health, the history of local people residing there, the traditions they follow and medicinal protocols they practice (Macaulay, 2009). It is believed that promoting education and recruiting aboriginal people as health care provides can help improve the current situation. We need to develop more professional maturity. We must treat the relegated and disempowered coworkers equally as a single community. We must reconcile ourselves with the aboriginal inhabitants of Australia. We can play a major role in supporting the Aboriginal health workers and communities and making them self-determinant. Many professionals treat the Aboriginal health workers as second-level nurses, which is not correct. We must appreciate the skills and knowledge possessed by these health workers and try to establish a strong relationship with them. We can morally support them, encourage them, assist them in making efficient use of available resources, and help them with technical training and educational opportunities (Jackson, Brady, & Stein, 1999). We need to be more sensitive in cross-cultural care. Some of the very simple gestures and practices can make patients comfortable. The simplest measures that can be taken are- not to maintain a direct and strong eye contact with these people, talking in soft and lowered tone and not asking too many direct questions. In general these people have inferiority complex and don’t like to interact with people they perceive more powerful and knowledgeable. Their experience, good or bad, not only affects them as an individual but also leaves a long lasting impression on their family and community members. Closely associating with these people can actually help us in getting insights into the keys issues behind these health inequalities. We can thus contribute our understanding to suggest some practical solutions to improve this dominant condition (Macaulay, 2009).
Thus restoring equalities in social aspects to deal with the physical, social and emotional wellbeing of the Aboriginal land Indigenous Australians has become a prime responsibility for Australia. We as nurses can use our knowledge and information to support the various interventions that are initiated by the government to help in improving the health status of these people. I suggest training and guidance can help our nursing team to successfully implement these developed interventions.
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