Journal of Professional Nursing

Cultural Safety: A Framework for Changing Attitudes

Pamela Wood, RGON, BA, Med Dip Tchg (Tert), Senior Lecurer, Department of Nursing and Midwifery, Otago Polytechnic
Margaret Schwass, Cultural Safety Coordinator, Department of Nursing & Health Education, Christchurch Polytechnic

Reference:  Wood, P, Schwass, M. (1993). Cultural Safety: A Framework for Changing Attitudes. Nursing Praxis in New Zealand, 8(1), 4-15.


When nursing first recognised cultural difference as an issue for nursing practice, it framed it in terms of achieving sensitivity to the needs of people of different cultures.  A significant shift came in 1988.  At the Hui Waimanawa a Maori nursing student stood and said, “Why can’t we go one step further than cultural sensitivity and have cultural safety?”  The notion of safety was a meaningful one for nurses.  The profession was committed to providing safe nursing practice and the focus of nursing registration examinations was safety.  With this nursing student’s question, the spirit and vision of cultural safety was created.

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