Cultural safety Essay Example

  • Category:
  • Document type:
  • Level:
  • Page:
  • Words:

Access to healthcare among Indigenous Australians can improve if healthcare professionals like nurses become sensitive to the cultural issues that affect such patients (Hampton & Toombs, 2013). Cultural safety or security implies that health professionals should ensure that the Indigenous Australian accessing health care services feel safe and secure based on their cultural practices, identity, and self-esteem. Indigenous Australians are sometimes reluctant to use modern medical services due to the fear that those offering these services do not understand their cultural practices (Hampton & Toombs, 2013). Cultural safety can be promoted through the establishment of centres that provide culturally acceptable services. The culturally “safe” health care services constitute an important component in promoting health care services and access among the Indigenous patients in Australia, particularly the Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders (Hampton & Toombs, 2013). Practice staff should be culturally sensitive in dealing with the Indigenous Australians since most of them view medical services with apprehension and as an aspect that advances “whiteness” and white culture (Germov, 2014). They should understand that certain cultural practices and limit access to medical facilities, especially in rural Australia have impact on how these people view health care services. Imperatively, cultural safety is essential for health care professionals dealing with Indigenous Australians.

Cultural based Constraints

Cultural based constraints limit the ability of Indigenous Australia to access health or medical services. For instance, Indigenous Australians maintain kinship ties and responsibilities. The implication is that a minor’s responsibility may lie in the hands of an uncle or grandmother and as such, they may accompany the minor to a health facility (Hampton & Toombs, 2013). Therefore, such a constraint may limit the minor’s access to medical services since they may require express permission from their guardians. Second, segregation and assimilation policies are cultural constraints that have limited access to medical care among these people. Most of them are reluctant to engage with medical professionals because of the mistrust created by the two policies (Hampton & Toombs, 2013). Further, social exclusion and low income levels affect Indigenous people’s access to health care services and facilities. These cultural constraints imply that the Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders cannot access quality care (Germov, 2014). These constraints arise from limited knowledge on the importance of medical services due to low levels of education among these people, particularly in the rural areas. Another cultural based constraint is population mobility among these people. Most of the Indigenous families are transient and move from one town to another due to cultural reasons. Imperatively, the movement results in poor health services delivery and access (Germov, 2014).

Future of Cultural Safety and role of health professionals

The future of cultural safety among healthcare professionals lies in several areas. First, cultural competence and appropriateness is essential for nurses and other health professionals in offering services to the Indigenous people (Hampton & Toombs, 2013). For instance, cultural issues may require them to discuss medical diagnoses based on the prevailing practices and sensitivity of such issues. Second, the need to establish culturally acceptable health facilities and services is essential for all professionals and government agencies (Germov, 2014). Cultural sensitivity will allow health professionals to deal with the Indigenous patients by understanding their cultural practices and some of the issues that affect their access to healthcare. Imperatively, health professionals have a critical role to influence policies and procedures that endure to the cultural practices of the Indigenous people. For instance, they should argue for the need for additional funds for Torres Strait Islanders and Aborigines (Hampton & Toombs, 2013). They need to train more Indigenous nurses, doctors and other health professionals from these communities to close the gap in health equality between them and the majority in the country.


Germov, J. (Ed.). (2014). Second Opinion: An Introduction to health sociology (5th ed.). South

Melbourne, VIC: Oxford University Press.

Hampton, R. & Toombs, M. (Ed.). (2013). Indigenous Australians and health: The Wombat in

the Room. South Melbourne, VIC: Oxford University Press.