Cultural safety and its importance for Australian midwifery practice

Collegian. 2010;17(3):105-11. doi: 10.1016/j.colegn.2009.11.001.


Cultural safety is an important concept in health care that originated in Aotearoa (New Zealand) to address Maori consumer dissatisfaction with health care. In Australia and internationally, midwives are now expected to provide culturally safe midwifery care to all women. Historically, Australia has received large numbers of immigrants from the United Kingdom, European countries and the Middle East. There have also been refugees and immigrants from South-East Asia, and most recently, from Africa. Australia continues to become more culturally diverse and yet to date no studies have explored the application of cultural safety in Australian midwifery practice. This paper explores how cultural safety has evolved from cultural awareness and cultural sensitivity. It examines the importance of cultural safety in nursing and midwifery practice. Finally, it explores the literature to determine how midwives can apply the concept of cultural safety to ensure safe and woman centred care.

MeSH terms

  • Australia
  • Cultural Competency*
  • Emigrants and Immigrants
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Midwifery / education
  • Midwifery / trends*
  • Patient-Centered Care
  • Pregnancy
  • Refugees
  • Safety*
  • Transcultural Nursing / education
  • Transcultural Nursing / trends*