Oral Presentation The 26th International Nursing Philosophy Conference 2023

Decolonising Nursing through historical reflection. (#30)

Jacinta Mackay 1 , Luke Molloy 2 , Kathleen Clapham 1
  1. Ngarruwan Ngadju, the School of Medical, Indigenous and Health Sciences., University of Wollongong, Wollongong, NSW, Australia
  2. School of Nursing , University of Wollongong, Wollongong, NSW, Australia

To truly decolonise nursing and midwifery in Australia, we must first understand and recognise the ongoing impacts of colonisation within our country and our profession. Only then can we start to overcome the barriers to decolonisation. An argument is made within this presentation that a knowledge of local histories and the experiences of colonisation within the locality are of vital importance for nurses to truly decolonise their workplaces and practices. Many of us work in areas that were once the sites of genocide, violence, and dispossession however most remain oblivious to the fact. By understanding local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, nurses and midwives are able to grasp how the local people were colonised and how our healthcare systems played a pivotal part in this colonisation. We can then reflect on our practices and actions to ask, do we need to decolonise ourselves? Our practices? And our workplaces? By participating in this critical reflection and decolonising ourselves and our workplaces, we are then able to deliver culturally safe care to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and create culturally safe working environments for our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander colleagues and visitors. This results in a new nursing philosophy that redefines nursing and nurses as culturally safe, decolonised healthcare professionals. By participating in a historical reflection, we can reengineer the meaning of being a nurse. This decolonisation philosophy of using history to identify colonisation and then as a tool to decolonise our practices highlights the importance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s voices within this history and philosophy.