Cultural safety

  • Do you know what the term ‘Cultural Safety’ means, particularly in the context of the RCH?

    In a workplace, cultural safety seeks to achieve better care by creating a workplace where everyone can:

    • examine their own cultural identities and attitudes towards people from other cultures,
    • consider power relationships between the patient and provider, and
    • allow the patient to determine when a clinical encounter is safe (Curtis et al., 2019).

    Cultural safety can only be determined by the experience of the individual or family receiving care and is not defined by the caregiver (Australian Health Ministers' Advisory Council, 2016).

    At The Royal Children's Hospital (RCH), we strive to generate a workplace where all staff feel respected and culturally safe.

    Check your cultural safety by taking this self-evaluation tool, which was developed by the Central Vancouver Island Multicultural Society. 

    Cultural Safety Icon

    Strategies that enhance culturally safe include:

    • Reflecting on one’s own culture, attitudes and beliefs about ‘others’
    • Clear, value free, open and respectful communication
    • Developing trust
    • Recognising and avoiding stereotypical barriers
    • Being prepared to engage with others in a two-way dialogue where knowledge is shared
    • Understanding the influence of culture shock.

    Cultural competence and proficiency

    At the RCH, we aim to develop cultural competence on an individual and an organisational level. Cultural competence is a developmental process that evolves over an extended period. In order to respect and acknowledge differences, each person must accept themselves as a cultural being and desire face-to-face encounters with others who are culturally different to learn from those encounters. A prevalent model of Cultural Competence (Cross, Bazron, Dennis, & Isaacs, 1989) can be found below. The six-stage continuum defines the sequential development of cultural competence, and ultimately cultural proficiency of individuals and organisations.

    Cultural Competency Model