Tuesday, March 26, 2013

An invitation to cultural-X

It's impossible to work in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health without realising the need for cultural awareness, cultural safety or cultural competence. So good on my colleague David Chessor for posing this tweet as a challenge to this blog.

 You won't be surprised to know I do have thoughts on this, based around my own experience of trying to do this to the best of my ability, and based around listening to the views of my patients. I do not teach cultural awareness or cultural safety or cultural competence, though. I am not Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander. None of these cultures are mine, I am an outsider with the observations of an outsider. The best I can do is describe the skills I use (and that the literature describes) to work across cultural difference. However, it's not for me to judge whether I succeed - that honour goes to my patients, and they will proudly tell them where I go wrong, and I am grateful to them for that.

In teaching appropriate work across cultures its important not just to describe the approaches required, but to role model them, to perform them. What better opportunity does social media provide than to do this. I don't want to write this blog post. I want as many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as possible to tell me and other doctors how we should do it. There's a big movement in medical education to make good use of social media, and the absence of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health has been noted in this - this is where we can correct this, and provide practical advice in a way that is culturally appropriate (I hope!). I want this blog post to be written by you, not just by me with space for comments. (I'll do the work to curate the responses)

There is some evidence that GPs in training don't like the term cultural safety. For this reason I wonder about acknowledging the work of @IndigenousX for Indigenous Excellence. What we are trying to achieve is Cultural Excellence, so why not Cultural-X?

So - how do you want your doctor (and other health professionals) to behave? How do you know if they've been culturally appropriate? Do you have examples of where you'vee seen it done well and where it's been done badly? If you have experience in health or even if you've ever seen a doctor (or if you've never seen a doctor because we've been a bit rubbish!) I want to hear from you. We can show how social medfia can be used to improve the health care you receive. It could even influence the doctor who will see you and your family members.

So contact me by twitter (@timsenior) or via the blog or e-mail. Let's see what we can create.

1 comment:

  1. Good topic! I sent you a message over citeulike... because I didn't know what your email address was