NURSES IN JEOPARDY IF THIS NONSENSE PASSES
Federal regulators’ expectations around ‘cultural safety’ are not healthy
A NEW code of conduct for nurses says “cultural safety” is just as important as “clinical safety” and nurses could be reprimanded or stood down if they get a bad report from a patient. This reeks of political correctness. The professional and clinical standards of 280,000 Australian nurses are regulated by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency – a federal body – and their code of conduct has just been updated to now mandate what manners nurses must display to their patients.
From March 1, any and all nurses and midwives who don’t respect the “cultural safety” of their patients will potentially face the loss of their registration and their careers at the whim of any disgruntled patient.
Even worse, there is effectively no defence to this process should it start.
Their new code now says “cultural safety provides a decolonising model of practice based on dialogue, communication power-sharing and negotiation, and the acknowledgment of white privilege”.
It also says “cultural safety” is now equally as important to quality care as “clinical safety” and nurses and midwives must now take this into account when dealing with patients and their families.
How on earth is this going to work when, say, a young Aboriginal kid is brought into the emergency ward after a knife fight with his blood and guts spread all over the gurney screaming abuse at the white nurse who is about to try to help him?
Does the nurse quietly sit beside him, hold his hand and explain in gentle tones that upon measured reflection he/she is aware of his/her white privilege and this will be informing his/her care?
You may well scoff, but I can tell you that any nurse who has read this new code or worked in indigenous health certainly isn’t.
How on earth are real nurses and midwives going to give practical effect to the equality of cultural and clinical safety?
Not just “privileged white” nurses, but all nurses now face real jeopardy as a result of the new code. It cuts both ways. A disgruntled racist white patient can end the career of an Aboriginal, African, Indian or Filipino nurse on a whim under this code. Common sense will play no part.
The reason there is effectively no defence against such complaints is because the new code of conduct specifies that the sole determinant of whether the nurse is acting appropriately sensitively or culturally safely is the patient and/or their family. It is entirely subjective. There is no objective test.
This is not to defend racist behaviour, but it is the employer’s responsibility to stamp it out if it exists, not the body that is supposed to regulate professional and clinical standards.
The new code has been sponsored and supported by the Queensland Nurses Union to promote its party political social policy.
Most nurses believe that patients are individuals who should be respectfully treated according to the clinical problems they present with irrespective of their colour, class or creed. That’s it, full stop.
They don’t need 20 pages of politically correct tosh in a code of conduct to tell them how they should do their jobs.
The Nurses Professional Association of Queensland is going to fight this and make sure that no nurse can lose their career because a patient doesn’t like their bedside manner.
Real workaday nurses and midwives need to show their solidarity and fight for their profession and their careers. It is under attack from those who should be supporting and protecting you.