Longitudinal follow up of early career midwives: Insights related to racism show the need for increased commitment to cultural safety in aboriginal maternity care

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4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Racism in health care undermines equitable service delivery, contributes to poorer health outcomes and has a detrimental effect on the Aboriginal workforce. In maternity care settings, Aboriginal women’s perceptions of discrimination are widespread, with the importance of cultural practices surrounding childbirth often not recognised. Efforts to build midwives’ cultural capabili-ties and address health disparities have seen Aboriginal content included in training programs but little is known about its application to clinical practice. This study reinterviewed midwives who had previously completed university midwifery training that aimed to increase understanding of Aboriginal people and cultural safety in health care. Participants were 14 non-Indigenous midwives and two Aboriginal midwives. Interviews explored the legacy of program initiatives on cultural capa-bilities and observations and experiences of racism in maternity care settings. Methods followed qualitative approaches for research rigour, with thematic analysis of transcribed interviews. Findings revealed the positive impact of well-designed content and placements, with non-Indigenous participants cognisant and responsive to casual racism but largely not recognising institutional rac-ism. The Aboriginal midwives had experienced and were attuned to racism in all its guises and suggested initiatives to heighten awareness and dispel stereotypes. It is evident that greater attention must be paid to institutional racism in educational programs to increase its recognition and appropriate actions within health care settings.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1276
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume18
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2021

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