Talking each other home: leadership and cultural safety in MAiD
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SubjectCultural awareness; Cultural safety; Cultural sensitivity; First person action research; Indigenous health; Medical Assistance in Dying
Set against the backdrop of increased accessibility to Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) across Canada, and an emerging sense of urgency around addressing racism in health care in BC, this First-Person Action Research (AR) thesis explored the question “How do I, as a settler health care leader, support patients and programs areas with needs related to cultural safety and/or MAiD?” Adopting a storytelling approach to First-Person AR, study methods included reflexive experiential learning, structured journaling, and semi-structured “talking story”-inspired dialogues with Cynthia Robinson, a Kitasoo/Xai Xais health care leader. Over the course of the research process, I found an extensive number of resources and recommendations exist to support cultural safety. Through my own process of learning and unlearning I recognized I have a role to play to support cultural safety in the context of MAiD; however, this role must by grounded in relationships and accountability. Key findings included: recognizing the importance of relationships; healing can occur through exploring and sharing culture; I can “model the way” for others; and I must ensure I am putting Indigenous people and voices first. While these findings are personal in nature, they are also applicable in organizational contexts and settings. This research offers recommendations to support settler leaders via reflective practice, as well as through education and the development of relationships with others. This research also emphasizes the need for further research into cultural safety in MAiD, ideally led by Indigenous peoples for Indigenous peoples.
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