Nursing schools developing cultural safe curriculum

OTTAWA, Sept. 23 /CNW Telbec/ - The Aboriginal Nurses Association of Canada (A.N.A.C.), together with its partner, the Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing (CASN), have selected six Canadian Schools of Nursing as representative schools for the implementation of new Nursing curriculum based on cultural safety competencies. This work will be inclusive of all the competencies in the new A.N.A.C. Framework, entitled "Cultural Competence and Cultural Safety in Nursing Education: A Framework for First Nations, Inuit and Métis Nursing."

The Framework was the result of a joint partnership between the Canadian Nurses Association, The Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing and the Aboriginal Nurses Association of Canada. It was formally launched on National Reconciliation Day, June 11, 2009, and is the result of a project - made possible by $405K in funding from Health Canada's Aboriginal Health Human Resources Initiative (AHHRI) - called 'Making it Happen: Strengthening Aboriginal Health Human Resources'.

"Health Canada is delighted to support this project, which demonstrates our commitment to culturally competent practices, which aim to improve the experience of First Nation, Métis and Inuit in health care settings," said Minister of Health Leona Aglukkaq.

"Such practices also promote the recruitment and retention of Aboriginal nursing students, and support a healthy work environment, essential to both the well-being of nurses, and of their patients," she added.

After a Call for Proposals, the selection committee made their decision on the representative schools based on differing geographic regions and program format as well as having both and representatives from both university and college programs. The six nursing schools selected are: Nova Scotia Community College, St Francis Xavier University, Trent University, Laurentian University, the University of Alberta and Langara College. Five of the six nursing schools are Bachelors of Nursing programs while the sixth, Nova Scotia Community College, is a Practical Nursing program.

The schools will implement the Framework competencies into their existing curriculum for all their students in the nursing program. This will be done by a number of differing strategies, including curriculum mapping of objectives, program adaptations of theoretical and/or clinical components or the creation of entirely new courses. These differing models as well as the documentation of their process will be published for all other Canadian Schools of Nursing to utilize as templates in the coming years as CASN will be incorporating them into their accreditation standards.

The President of A.N.A.C., Rosella Kinoshameg highlighted that, "The sharing of the templates with other universities and colleges will touch Aboriginal students on a broader basis. The incorporation into accreditation standards by CASN will strengthen the commitment of nursing schools to implement the competencies. The end result of these two initiatives will "make it happen".

A.N.A.C. and CASN are optimistic that successful implementation of the cultural competency Framework will serve not only to improve the health care experience for First Nation, Métis and Inuit clients as well as promoting the recruitment and retention of Aboriginal nursing students.

While these cultural safety competencies have been developed specifically to support the health needs of Canada's Aboriginal peoples, the commitment to culturally competent practices works to eliminate discrimination and disparity in the system by actively engaging in activities and strategies designed to maximize health, economic and social benefits for all. The use of cultural competencies supports a healthy work environment for nurses which is essential to the well-being of clients and the recognition and respect of cultures enhances quality patient outcomes.

To further support the use of these cultural safety competencies in the workplace, A.N.A.C. will be working with the Canadian Healthcare Association on a related curriculum course for health service delivery managers and professionals that is expected to be implemented as distance learning course in the fall of 2010.


The Framework is the result of a project - funded by the Aboriginal Health Human Resources Initiative (AHHRI), First Nations and Inuit Health Branch, Health Canada - called 'Making it Happen: Strengthening Aboriginal Health Human Resources'. These new curriculum development projects form the second phase of this initiative, entitled 'Strengthening Aboriginal Health Human Resources: Making it Happen: Curriculum Development and Getting the Word Out". The Framework can be found at


For further information: For further information: Audrey Lawrence, Executive Director, A.N.A.C., at (613) 724-4677, ext. 23, or send an e-mail to

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