There is a huge amount of evidence that health inequities exist across the globe. While many factors can contribute to this, individual and systemic biases contribute significantly. The truth is, while it may not be intended, healthcare services and institutions often operate in a way that discriminates against certain groups due to embedded norms, values, and practices. These beliefs and practices can lead to underrepresentation in clinical research and different levels of care along a person’s healthcare journey, consequently leading to inequities in health outcomes.
For example, research has shown that 90% of all people hold some form of bias against women. In healthcare, this can lead to disbelieving symptoms, delayed diagnoses, and avoidance of medical care. As another example, racial and ethnic bias can lead to differences in wait times for assessments, delayed diagnosis, or reduced prescription of drugs, such as painkillers.
This training course covers many more examples of how bias can present itself in healthcare and the consequences this can have. Not only this, but the course provides you with the skills you need to recognise when discrimination may be occurring, and stop it as it is happening, as well as in the future.
Cultural safety was created and developed in the 1990s by Māori nurse and educator, Irihapeti Ramsden, who campaigned for the specific healthcare needs of indigenous peoples to be addressed.
In a world where culture is continually evolving and societies are becoming more diverse, it is becoming increasingly likely that you will be required to interact with people who are of a different culture to you. It is at this point when understanding a person’s cultural identity and how to be culturally safe is crucial. For example, if a male healthcare provider is interacting with a female patient, it is important they know how to recognise their own implicit biases. This will help to avoid negative interactions, and ultimately will ensure they are able to provide culturally safe care.
Throughout the course, sensitive topics such as the impact of historical medical abuses will also be covered. It may be hard to believe, but a lot of the injustices that happened many years ago still have a long-term impact on healthcare today, including on how certain groups of people are treated and how the pharmaceutical industry is perceived. It’s important that this topic is covered in the course, as recognising the long-term consequences of mistreatment is an important step towards becoming more culturally safe.
One-way biases can show up in healthcare is in the form of microaggressions. In the course, we’ll discuss what microaggressions are, how to identify them, and how to confront and address microaggressions successfully.
You might be wondering —aren’t there guidelines in place to ensure diversity and inclusion in healthcare? We’ll look at some of the regulatory guidelines that have been introduced and their ability to uphold inclusive standards in medical research. To do this, we will examine a case study of a drug that was approved for use based on an unrepresentative cohort of patients and see how this directly contributed to health inequities.
People face many barriers to engagement throughout their healthcare journey. In the course, we’ll highlight some of the key things that prevent various groups from engaging with healthcare and medical research. You’ll even have the opportunity to hear from patients themselves as they describe how healthcare doesn’t cater to their specific needs and why culture plays a big part in their decision-making.
While this online training is video based, we encourage interaction throughout the course with reflective sessions and knowledge assessments. You will also have access to supporting documents that are referenced throughout the course, as well as activity sheets and practical resources to enable you to put your learning into practice.
There is also a discussion forum, where you can share your thoughts and key takeaways with other people who are taking part in the Cultural Safety course.
There’s no better time than now to challenge the current ways of working and take actionable steps to achieve health equity. This course will support you to develop reflective skills and discover practical strategies to help you deliver positive healthcare experiences for all.