Embracing Cultural Awareness: A Key Competency for Healthcare Professionals in New Zealand
In our Healthcare schools, AGI Education and Kauri Academy, we understand and aim to share the vital role cultural awareness plays in providing effective care. Today, we're excited to dive into the importance of understanding the cultural environment in Aotearoa before embarking on your healthcare journey.
The Cultural Kaleidoscope: New Zealand is a vibrant tapestry of cultures, with a rich blend of indigenous Māori, Pacific Island, Asian, and European influences. Understanding this cultural kaleidoscope is essential for healthcare professionals, as it allows them to navigate the diverse needs and values of their patients.
Kia Ora, Greetings Galore: One of the first steps towards cultural understanding is mastering the art of greetings. In New Zealand, a warm "Kia Ora" is the go-to phrase to welcome others. But why stop there? Delve deeper into the realm of greetings, such as the Samoan "Talofa" or the Chinese "Nǐ hǎo." By embracing these simple yet meaningful gestures, healthcare professionals can create an instant connection with patients from different cultural backgrounds.
The Haka Hype: For many viewing New Zealand from overseas, the haka (as performed by the All Blacks) offers their main or only example of Māori culture. However, within New Zealand itself, we understand that there is so much more to value in our indigenous culture and as a result in our healthcare schools we explore a wide range of Māori cultural concepts and understand their importance in the delivery of equitable healthcare outcomes to tangata whenua.
The 'Whānau' Factor: For example, in New Zealand, "whānau" holds a special place. It refers to Māori concept of (extended) family and community, emphasizing the collective support and interconnectedness of individuals. Understanding the significance of whānau is crucial for healthcare professionals, as consulting, involving and respecting the patient's family can greatly contribute to their well-being and recovery.
Culinary Adventures: New Zealand's multiculturalism extends to its cuisine, offering a delectable fusion of flavors from around the world. As healthcare professionals, embracing diverse tastes and dietary preferences can help build rapport in providing patient-centered care. So, be prepared for conversations about pavlova, hāngi, sushi, curry, and many more mouthwatering delights!
We recognise that understanding the cultural environment in New Zealand is vital in delivering exceptional care. By immersing ourselves in our cultural tapestry, appreciating traditional practices, and embracing diversity, we create a healthcare system that is truly inclusive and patient-centric.
So, let's embark on this cultural journey together. With an open mind, a willingness to learn, we can all become compassionate ambassadors of care in New Zealand's diverse healthcare landscape.
Here’s to doing better and growing potential!
Meanwhile, check out this video of our incredible students embracing the gorgeous tunes of Aotearoa - https://www.instagram.com/reel/CtsEkLcgAV8/utm_source=ig_web_copy_link&igshid=MzRlODBiNWFlZA==