Moving beyond a colorblind perspective

Here´s another reflection regarding the course I participate in about cultural awareness. I believe that the current paradigm in Sweden in some ways are built upon those early psychological research that is described in the article of Awad et al. (2016). The assumptions are based on a humanistic belief that we are all equal and should be treated the same way… which is of cause correct! But, maybe we tend to forget and acknowledge the cultural impact on our behaviours. This week I have thought about this a lot. Is it right to treat everyone the same? Now, after learning more about culture in this course, I think that I think, that it is NOT right. That we actually should treat each other differently depending on what cultural behaviours we possess. In fact, it would be unethical not to do so. And here comes the tricky part… How do we know what cultural behaviours our fellows or participants have? Suddenly, I do understand why my teacher asked the questions that she had written in her presentation from last webinar.

·         How do assumptions influence what questions we ask and how we ask?

·         What influence may our values or beliefs have on the methodologies we use?

·         How may participants react to our questions based on their culture?

I have no answers to the questions but if we don´t ask, we have to trust what we know and what we see. I assume a great deal of things about a person I have in front of me just from looking at the person. I guess they do the same with me. We as humans (including nurses and PhD students), are inclined to sort individuals into boxes constructed out of e.g. religion, language, ethnicity, clothing style, diagnosis and gender. Could it be that the huge variety makes it too difficult for us to handle? Is the global diversity overwhelming and does it make us feel small and insecure? I think it sometimes does. We have to be fearless and curious about cultural differences. I do think that this quotation from the article of Awad et al. (2016) is fabulous (in fact I love it),

“Moving beyond a colorblind perspective towards embracing multiculturalism”

It´s time to take off the shades and to call on all our courage to face the challenge of cultural diversity by being bold and brave.

After writing this first part of my reflections I got tired of myself… It´s sooooo easy to write nice words and so much harder to act upon them. I like that Awad et al. (2016) gave us some key recommendation of how to conducting culturally sensitive research. On the webinar I tried to make a comment about stigmatisation and the first recommendation is regarding how to “avoid using the comparative research framework”. Last autumn, I participated in an ethical PhD course, were the students from the Department of Criminology talked a lot about not stigmatise minority groups even if the result showed that they for instance had a high rate of crime. I am amazed that the academy takes this huge society dilemma on its shoulders and withhold the results. I want to know, discuss and think more about this stigmatisation problem regarding nursing research. Does it exist in our field and how does it occur?

Reference
Awad G H, Patall E A, Rackley K R, Reilly E D, (2016) Recommendations for Culturally Sensitive Research Methods. Journal of Educational and Psychological Consultation, 26(3), 283-303.

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Study abroad

I know I wrote about this in my last blog post but today I got this study material in my mailbox so I got a little excited. I have a dream to study abroad. When I was young I never traveled or anything. I worked, took my nursing degree and continued working. And to be honest, I have worked ever since. Now when I’m a PhD student I think that I have increased opportunities to study abroad and the first step to defeat is an English exam. The test is held is Lund which is small town approximately 30 km from my home. The IELTS test consists of four elements, reading, listening, writing and speaking and test dates this spring is on May 5th or June 2nd. I would like to apply to the University of Leicester and there requirement are an IELTS score 7.0 with a minimum score of 6.5 in each element. I will try to study hard and hopefully I will succeed and if not… I will just try again and again…

Photo: My own…

Linguistic proficiency

So I have been struggling with my research proposal, which is of cause written in English. Finally, my supervisors approved it and now I´m in the phase of writing my ethical application. Luckily (for me) the application ought to be written in Swedish! At first I experience such a relief to write in my own native langue. I felt that I was able to be free, to seize, and express different nuances by the help of the Swedish language. That feeling was intense and may I say short… When I write in English I have to be pleased if I can come up with two different options of how to write a sentence. Suddenly, I have, at least, ten different choices of how to write a sentence in Swedish. Now, I’m kind of stuck in a mud bath that gets me nowhere. I’ve spent two whole working days with my ethical application and so far the result of it is disheartening. I never thought I should say this but, in a certain sense, it is easier to write in English…

I have a dream to study abroad and I’ve found a course about “Quality and Safety in Healthcare” in Leicester (UK)  that I think could fit my “PhD profile”. The University has an English language requirement, so in order to be able to apply for this course I have to take an English exam. To prepare myself I take lessons each Monday evenings. I aim to take the exam in May or June this year. So, the linguistic struggle continues!

Wish me luck! (…with both the ethical application AND the English exam)

Photo: http://www.pixabay.com

 

Cultural awareness

Last autumn I started as a PhD student and I had absolutely no clue of what to expect and do. At the moment I believe that I have adopted to my new role a little bit better.

I´ve just started as a participant in a PhD course called “Cultural awareness in health and social research”. It´s a course that is held as a collaboration between three universities; La Trobe University (Australia), The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (Hong Kong) and Malmö University (Sweden).

Me as a PhD student are supposed to broaden and deepen my understanding of cultural awareness in order to critically appraise research and the research process in health and social sciences. I have participated in the first webinar and really… I can feel it in my bones, this course is a real eye opener for me! In this blog post I will share my reflections so fare.

The diversity is broad and profound, right? The globalisation gives us diversity everywhere in the population and in the society. It´s all over, among nursing students, PhD candidates, professors and of course our patients and study participants/informants.

As I was reading about cross-cultural communication, I came to think about my clinical experiences. When I work as a clinical nurse it often happens that I meet patients from other countries and cultures. If the patient is ill (I mean really sick) they seem to experience insecurity and anxiety in a Swedish hospital care system they don´t know how to orient in. If, luckily, a healthcare professional from their own culture, speaking their own language comes and interact with them, the patient usually calms down and express comfort and peace. I believe that when we are “fragile”, the culture that we are familiar with is most important. A unit with a diversity of healthcare professionals is a strong cultural competent workplace and have prerequisites for individual and unique communication and interaction.

To be honest, I still struggle a bit with the meaning of cultural awareness. That´s probably because, until now, I have been unaware and,  I do have to enhance my knowledge regarding the concept cultural competence and the different “subcategories” of it. According to Hadziabdic et al. (2016) cultural awareness is about being aware that a person’s cultural background affects the person’s behaviours and attitudes. Furthermore, cultural awareness is described as an affective dimension and the lowest level of cultural competence (Rew et al., 2003). As I see it, this course is my first steps towards becoming more aware of culture and how it affects me and my fellows. But, actually, I wonder why we choose to focus on cultural awareness and no on the overall ultimate cultural competence. I´m very curious to learn more about this topic and how it will affect my studies. Looking forward to the future of this course and the interaction with all of you!

References
Hadziabdic et al. (2016) Swedish version of measuring cultural awareness in nursing students: validity and reliability test. BMC Nursing, 15(25), 1-9.

Rew et al. (2003) Measuring cultural awareness in nursing students. Journal of Nursing Education, 42(6), 249-257.

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