Talking about the ‘r’ word – a right to a healthcare system that is free of racism

CPD Hours: .5
Current as at 03 February 2022
There is growing evidence that socioeconomic status (SES) is a fundamental cause of health inequalities. The hallmark of a fundamental cause is persistent health inequalities despite pronounced changes in diseases, health risks, and treatments. Large racial inequalities in health have also persisted across time despite changes in diseases and health-related factors.

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“Understand the effects of racism in Australian healthcare”

Course Content

There is growing evidence that socioeconomic status (SES) is a fundamental cause of health inequalities.

The hallmark of a fundamental cause is persistent health inequalities despite pronounced changes in diseases, health risks, and treatments. Large racial inequalities in health have also persisted across time despite changes in diseases and health-related factors.

In March 2018, the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia released new editions of their codes of conduct encouraging nurses “to engage with people as individuals in a culturally safe and respectful way”. The code defined “cultural safety” as providing “a decolonising model of practice based on dialogue, communication, power sharing and negotiation, and the acknowledgment of white privilege”.

Conservative media commentators reacted by claiming that white nurses were being asked to apologise for being white prior to caring for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients. Media personality Andrew Bolt called the code “a new form of racism”, and Senator Cory Bernardi characterised the situation as a “new medical Marxism”.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (hereafter Aboriginal) people are a minority group that constitute approximately 2.4 percent of the national population in Australia and suffer high rates of unemployment and incarceration, low income, substandard housing and a high burden of ill-health and mortality, including a life expectancy 9-12 years less than other Australians. The high level of racism experienced by Aboriginal Australians has been associated with factors such as depression, poor self-rated health, and childhood illness and reduced utilization of health services. It is also notable that racism experienced during pregnancy is recognized as having deleterious impacts on both mother and child health outcomes.

Lastly, because of the reliable replacement of mechanisms linking racism to health outcomes, we conclude that racism must be the ultimate target in attempts to effectively and permanently reduce racial inequalities in health and mortality.

 

Learning Outcomes

In this session, you will:

  • Understand the effects of racism in Australian healthcare
  • Discuss the institutional and systemic racism and racist attitudes
  • Learn the acceptable approach to indigenous health
  • Acknowledge the Indigenous cultures of being, knowing and doing
The Nursing CPD Institute

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