Kerri Arcus

1506 – Teaching cultural safety: Fear of getting it wrong

Cultural safety is a requirement for all nurses in Aotearoa New Zealand. Although cultural safety is a legislated and audited component of nursing practice and undergraduate curricula, there is minimal research or published literature on how this is interpreted into teaching practice.

Research was undertaken to identify best-practice cultural safety teaching, including assessment, and to document pedagogies. Data were gathered and analysed from focus groups comprised of eight academic staff who taught across a range of undergraduate, postgraduate and professional development nursing courses.

Participants shared narratives of successful approaches and strategies they used to teach and assess cultural safety, providing examples of when they thought teaching went well.   Preliminary findings revealed six overarching themes: critical reflection for transformation, fear of getting it wrong, authenticity, visible versus invisible curriculum, supportive infrastructures, and more research. Fear of getting it wrong has been identified in two other studies by the authors.

Cultural safety has a unique history embedded in the context of nursing in New Zealand and is accepted as a necessary aspect of competent practice. It is timely to again encourage discourse among nurse educators regarding cultural safety: the bicultural imperative, current interpretations, effective teaching approaches and barriers. This may include having some difficult conversations to address ‘the fear of getting it wrong’.

Key words: cultural safety; nursing practice; competence; nursing education.