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The ANMF has used National Reconciliation Week (NRW) to remind nurses of the importance of the cultural safety standards in nursing and midwifery practice as part of the week’s events.

Members are particularly encouraged to re-engage with 2018’s Joint Statement – Cultural safety: Nurses and midwives leading the way for safer healthcare,” published on the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australian (NMBA).

The document, co-signed by a number of peak organisations, including the Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses and Midwives (CATSINaM) and the ANMF, called on nursing and midwifery professionals to hold themselves to new practice standards and codes of conduct in their respective fields of work.

“Cultural safety is about the person who is providing care reflecting on their own assumptions and culture in order to work in a genuine partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples,” the statement’s signees wrote at the time.

“The principle of cultural safety in the new Code of conduct for nurses and Code of conduct for midwives (the codes) provides simple, common sense guidance on how to work in a partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.

“The guidance around cultural safety in the codes sets out clearly the behaviours that are expected of nurses and midwives, and the standard of conduct that patients and their families can expect. It is vital guidance for improving health outcomes and experiences for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.”

Introduced in March 2018, the NMBA also provides a fact sheet that explains the codes, which remains as the current standard for registered nurses and midwives in 2021.

Cultural safety, a concept developed by Maori nurse Irihapeti Ramsden in the 1980s, is a key component of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013–2023, and the concept’s relationship with Australian First Nations-focused healthcare was the subject of federal government research last year.

This year’s NRW theme is “More than a Word. Reconciliation takes action,” and the week is running from 27 May through to 3 June. More information on this year’s campaign and its associated events can be found at the NRW website.