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New degree puts cultural responsiveness at heart of nursing

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wintec will be the first New Zealand education provider in the North Island to develop a graduate entry programme in nursing which responds to the growing need for culturally responsive care in the health sector.

Wintec plans to enrol the first students for the Master of Health Science (graduate entry) in February next year. This intense two-year degree is a pathway for people who are graduates of a bachelor degree in academic areas other than nursing. This degree will help to pathway people to become a registered nurse.

Cultural responsiveness is an emerging area in our increasingly diverse global community. In the health sector, an understanding of the importance of respecting culture, language and lifestyle can impact positive outcomes.

Zoe Tipa of Kai Tahu, Kahungunu descent joined Wintec recently to support the development of nursing education environments that are responsive to Te Ao Māori. With a background in primary healthcare, gerontology, Māori health and tamariki ora nursing, Zoe, a registered nurse, is also researching cultural safety and how it relates to the concept of cultural responsiveness for her PhD at AUT (Auckland University of Technology).

For Zoe, developing the new degree has been an incredible opportunity to explore new ways of nursing.

"An understanding of cultural responsiveness is an essential component in nursing practice. It’s about creating a whole environment where the practitioner considers and responds to the cultural needs of the person receiving the service."

Her research aims to identify ways to reduce health inequities for Māori accessing Well Child/Tamariki Ora services and promotes the use of outcome measures that make a difference for Māori.

"At Wintec, we are developing a curriculum to embed culturally responsive learning environments and contexts for this degree and New Zealand is a fantastic incubator for cultural responsiveness in the health sector," says Zoe.

"The bi-culturally rich environment we have here provides a fertile ground for the emergence and the exploration of new paths."

The new degree and the opportunity it offers to pathway to a career in nursing, also responds to the need to address health inequities in our smaller and more remote communities.

According to Zoe, putting cultural responsiveness at the heart of Wintec’s new nursing degree is an opportunity to encourage the concept across the health sector not just in New Zealand, but also worldwide.

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