Cultural Safety is about community and individual empowerment to manage one's own health and wellbeing and social issues. In practical, cultural safety requires health systems to examine their own practices in order to break down the barriers to achieveing cultural understanding and responsiveness.
National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers Association (NATSIHWA) developed their cultural safety framework in 2013 to increase the capability within the healthcare systems to deliver culturally safe and responsive health and wellbeing services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
The purpose of this paper is to explain the expressions used in the original cultural safety framework. It is not intended to distract from or undermine the original document, but to expound on the content, principles, definitions, and eight critical domains set out in the cultural safety framework.
- It is essential for the recruitment and retention of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heath Workers, and the provision of culturally safe and responsive healthcare to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples that healthcare environments recognise the need for a more culturally responsive approach in their work practices.
- The health and wellbeing and life chances of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are influenced by both positive and negative responses to specific healthcare experiences.
- Recognising and valuing the role of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers is critical as the role of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workers is often blurred or ill defined due to the diverse nature and scope of the clinical work and community engagement services undertaken.
- Cultural safety involves strategies to increase system self-knowledge, systemic reflection, and evaluation. It also clearly recognises the responsibility of healthcare providers to design and deliver healthcare services and programs that respectfully engage people from diverse cultural backgrounds.
- Equity is never about ‘sameness’, rather it seeks to identify and redress historical, social and political imbalances and inequities and how they have impeded the opportunities for socially and/or culturally marginalised minorities.
- Healthcare systems must engage more effectively with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community and with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workers to ensure the creation of a culturally safe workplace.
NATSIHWA considers it critical to increase the understanding of the role and value of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers across the health system. Therefore they established the Cultural Safety Framework (the Framework) for the purpose of identifying and providing practical guidance for the development and implementation of cultural safety strategies within and across healthcare systems, in the workplace, and by the health workforce.