Ro­torua re­searcher hopes to re­duce racial and eth­nic bias in nurs­ing

Rotorua Daily Post - - Local News - So­nia Hawkins

Un­der­stand­ing racial and eth­nic bias in the nurs­ing pro­fes­sion and then work­ing out a way to re­duce it are the ob­jec­tives be­hind So­nia Hawkins’ (pic­tured) doc­toral re­search.

The Ro­torua woman’s PhD re­search ap­pli­ca­tion was signed off ear­lier this month.

Hawkins is one of four peo­ple to be awarded a Health Re­search Coun­cil (HRC) schol­ar­ship val­ued at more than $128,000 to com­plete her doc­tor­ate.

Hawkins, who af­fil­i­ates to Te Arawa and Tainui, worked in Toi Ohomai’s

Strate­gic Part­ner­ships and Ma¯ori Suc­cess di­rec­torate as an ad­viser where she de­vel­oped a new Treaty­based ap­proach and the in­au­gu­ral eq­uity re­port.

She said her doc­toral re­search would help build on her master’s the­sis and the work she had done with Toi Ohomai.

“My PhD re­search re­lates to the find­ings from my master’s re­search that cen­tred on nar­ra­tives of power and priv­i­lege.

“The nurse par­tic­i­pants ex­pressed strong views re­lated to the dom­i­nant theme of power and priv­i­lege and four sub themes of priv­i­lege dis­course, bias and stereo­types, cul­tural safety and racism,” she said.

“My the­sis find­ings were a call to ac­tion to un­der­take fur­ther re­search and to build on an­other HRC-funded study that ex­am­ined eth­nic and racial bias de­ci­sion­mak­ing among med­i­cal stu­dents.”

Hawkins said there were 57,000 nurses in New Zealand, but Ma¯ori made up only 7 per cent of the work­force.

“New grad­u­ate nurses that whaka­papa to a rohe, are con­fi­dent in te ao Ma¯ori, and are NCNZ qual­i­fied are crit­i­cal to de­vel­op­ing the nurs­ing work­force. How­ever, the sys­tem doesn’t al­ways recog­nise or value the dual at­tributes Ma¯ori nurses bring.

“The dis­pro­por­tion­ate over-rep­re­sen­ta­tion of nonMa¯ori would sug­gest one of the con­tribut­ing fac­tors is the re­cruit­ment sys­tem and process, which priv­i­leges a non-Ma¯ ori western world­view

“Our Ma¯ori health re­search tells us since the Treaty of Wai­tangi in­sti­tu­tions’ struc­ture dis­ad­van­tage and marginalise Ma¯ ori.”

Her re­search will also ex­plore why Ma¯ori don’t en­gage with health ser­vices.

Hawkins said one of the rea­sons Ma¯ori did not en­gage with health ser­vices was be­cause Ma¯ori did not see them­selves, their val­ues or be­liefs rep­re­sented in it and she looked for­ward to ex­plor­ing this fur­ther.

Hawkins said she al­ways wanted to be a nurse be­cause she wanted to work with and for Ma¯ ori.

She grad­u­ated from Wa­iariki In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy with a Bach­e­lor of Nurs­ing in 1997 and com­pleted her Master of Health Sci­ence in 2017 at the Uni­ver­sity of Auck­land. in­stead.

"The sys­tem doesn’t al­ways recog­nise or value the dual at­tributes Ma¯ori nurses bring."

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