On Monday, November 30, the Ministry of Health
released the findings from Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond’s investigation into Indigenous-specific racism in B.C.’s healthcare system. It is deeply disturbing to contemplate the extent to which Indigenous-specific racism has been embedded in the healthcare system and its devastating impact on health outcomes for Indigenous people. But we must confront it head on if we are to break this destructive cycle and create a healthcare system in which everyone can receive culturally safe, person-centred care.
BCCNM’s mandate is to protect the public through the regulation of nurses and midwives. Within this context, we have a unique opportunity to influence the professions we regulate, as well as the broader healthcare system. We will carefully review Ms. Turpel-Lafond’s report; we are committed to implementing her recommendations, in consultation with our partners and in accordance with the
Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act.
BCCNM is a signatory to the Declaration of Commitment to Cultural Safety and Humility, signed by all health profession regulators, the Ministry of Health, and the First Nations Health Authority in March 2017. Over the past several years, we have been on a journey to learn the truth about the experiences of BC First Nations and other Indigenous people living in B.C. and to take appropriate and meaningful action to reconcile past atrocities.
We have taken steps to integrate the principles of cultural safety and humility into our organizational culture, our brand, as well as our strategic and operational plans. We have encouraged registrants, staff, Board, and committee members to undertake cultural safety training. We have also begun the work to embed the voice of First Nations people into our governance structures and have engaged a First Nations Knowledge Keeper to be a guide and resource to our Board and staff.
In addition, we are supporting the First Nations Health Authority’s efforts to paint a broader picture of the number of Indigenous people practising as registered healthcare professionals. During the annual registration renewal period, nurse and midwife registrants have the option to self-identify as First Nations, Métis, or Inuk (Inuit). The aggregate data is shared with FNHA.
While we are proud of the actions taken thus far, there is an immediate need to do more. Indigenous people have a right to receive to receive care that is culturally safe, free of racism and that leads to positive health outcomes. BCCNM has prioritized the following actions, which we will implement in alignment with Ms. Turpel’s report:
We recognize that Indigenous people may need specific and supportive services that differ from others’ needs. We are committed to providing culturally safe environments for any individual contacting and working with our College. Taking a different approach to meeting their unique needs creates equity for those who are among the most vulnerable in our society due to their past experiences. Above all, we aim to develop and maintain processes and relationships that are grounded in mutual respect and trust.
While we believe that the commitments we have made will help to dismantle the systemic racism that exists in our healthcare system, we recognize that on their own, they are not enough. To be better, we need to do better. And to do better, we need to hear from you.
Your feedback and your ideas help shape our organization.
Please let us know what you think and how we can change to better serve people in our communities and province. Also, please return regularly to our website – we will share our progress in making the culturally safe and humble care of Indigenous people a priority for nurses and midwives across our province.