Read the Case Study below.
1. Using the theory of “White Privilege”, unpack the issues raised in one of the workplaces.
2. Offer solutions to address the issues, using the principles of community development and cultural safety/awareness
CASE STUDY – Shattered dreams
Six young Aboriginal people from this regional town graduated as nurses and found positions at the local hospital because they wanted to stay close to their families. The Aboriginal groups of the town were delighted and often requested that one of these nurses attend them. A few months later, however, the shine had gone off the job for one of these young, enthusiastic nurses. She blamed herself, but during counselling it became clear that she was bearing the brunt of various forms of discrimination from other nurses. Soon after this she resigned.
Over the next two years, one by one the other five Aboriginal nurses resigned, for similar reasons ranging from avoidance to blatant racism. Various attempts were made to alert the nursing hierarchy to the tragedy unfolding but the usual responses were along the lines of ‘they are choosing to go’ or ‘they just haven’t got what it takes’ or other ‘blame the victim’ statements. Not once was it acknowledged that the attitudes of ‘mainstream’ staff needed appraisal or that the hospital needed to look at itself.
Clearly these Aboriginal nurses did not fit the membership criteria for nursing at this hospital and even when the power over others in nursing was revealed, it was not questioned. It was concealed and institutionalized. (Eckermann, 2008: 171)
If you are having difficulties think of it as you have been called into the hospital to investigate and write a report to management on:
• What is going on in the hospital that these nurses are leaving?
• Why is it important to have Aboriginal nurses in the system (Aboriginal health stats or overview)
• What are the issues, (racism, institutional, personal, white privilege, etc.)
• What might be some of the solutions?
So you will need to consider:
• History of relationships between Aboriginal and non-Indigenous people,
• Aboriginal health – Statistical information,
• What racism is,
• How it is manifesting in this workplace,
• Why it is important to build relationships,
• who might be involved in this.
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