Cultural Competence and Cultural Safety: A Knowledge Translation Symposium

Stakeholders across the country including, First Nations, Inuit, and Métis, nursing educators, and students, met in Toronto, Ontario on March 19th and 20th, 2012 to discuss the very important concepts of cultural competence and cultural safety in nursing education. Elder Garry Sault welcomed participants in a traditional First Nations Ceremony. He shared his wisdom and traditions, and engaged participants in a traditional “smudging ceremony”. Dr. Colleen Varcoe, Dr. Victoria Smye, and Associate Professor Star Mahara set the context for the Symposium during an intriguing and interactive panel discussion that highlighted their perspectives on the concepts of equity, relational practice, and citizenship. As the symposium focused on knowledge translation, participants learned from previous initiatives, participated in rich dialogue about concepts related to cultural competence and cultural safety and, how to integrate them into nursing curricula. This Symposium reinforced the importance of ensuring that nursing students across the country are informed, and educated on these very important constructs.


1)    Key-Note Address (March 19th, 2012)The Challenge of Interculturality – Sharing the lessons of the American Countries (Dr. Diego Garcia, Assembly of First Nations


2)    Promoting Indigeneity Through a Cultural Safety Lens (Dr. Evelyn Voyageur RN, PhD, and R. Lisa Bourque Bearskin RN, PhD (C,) Aboriginal Nurses Association of Canada)


3)    Learning from Previous Initiatives of Cultural Competence and Cultural Safety 


a.   Cultural Safety in Nursing Education: An Integration Strategy for the Faculty of Nursing, University of Alberta (Sylvia Barton, RN, PhD, University of Alberta)

b.  Making it happen: Curriculum development 2012 at Trent/Fleming School of Nursing (Cathy Graham, RN, MSc, Trent/ Fleming School of Nursing)

c.   St. Francis Xavier School of Nursing (Jane Moseley, RN, BScN, MAdEd, St. Francis Xavier University)

d.  Moving Toward Cultural Competence and Cultural Safety within the Langara College School of Nursing (Wanda Pierson, RN, BSN, MSN, PhD, Langara College

e.   Integration and Assessment of the Aboriginal Cultural Competence & Cultural Safety Course at Nova Scotia Community College (Terry Penny, RN, BScN, MSN, Nova Scotia Community College)

f.   Nurses for Nunatsiavut (Gail Turner RN BN MAdEd CCHN (C), Director of Health Services, Department of Health and Social Development, Nunatsiavut Government)