As primary care nurses, we have the privilege of being on the frontlines of healthcare, providing support and care to our patients day in and day out. September 30th on National Truth and Reconciliation Day in Alberta, we pause to reflect on the profound impact that the history and legacy of residential schools have had on Indigenous communities across Canada.
For many of us, this day is an opportunity to acknowledge the painful truths of our nation's past, to honor the survivors of residential schools, and to take meaningful steps towards reconciliation.
As we commemorate this day, let us reflect on the role that primary care nurses can play in the journey toward reconciliation:
Cultural Competency and Empathy: Understand the cultural background of Indigenous patients, including their customs, traditions, and values. Don't know what they are? Just ask. Cultivate empathy and actively listen to their experiences, especially considering the intergenerational trauma stemming from residential schools.
Continuous Education: Prioritize continuous learning by investing in training and workshops focusing on Indigenous history, culture, and healthcare issues. Organizations like the Indigenous Health Network and Together 4 Health offer valuable resources and educational opportunities.
Self-Reflection and Support: Reflect on personal biases and prejudices. Commit to unlearning stereotypes and prejudices, which can significantly impact the care we provide. Foster a supportive workplace environment for Indigenous colleagues, encouraging their leadership and contributions in the healthcare field.
As we move forward, let us seek out opportunities for continuing education on Indigenous health and reconciliation. Consider enrolling in courses, attending workshops, and participating in discussions that deepen your understanding of the Indigenous experience in Canada. Knowledge is a powerful tool in our quest for a more just and equitable healthcare system. Together, as primary care nurses, we can play a vital role in the process of healing and reconciliation, working toward a brighter and more inclusive future for all.