Participate in professional networks
The NSWNMA recognised the vital role unions have in protecting the rights of nurses and midwives, supporting them to shift the imbalance of power whilst providing a layer of safety that collectivism brings. To achieve this, an ongoing partnership with members was established through a culturally and linguistically diverse nurses and midwives’ professional reference group.
The group now meet bi-monthly online, so anyone living and working as a nurse or midwife in NSW can participate. The group also encourages non-culturally, racially, and linguistically diverse members to participate as allies, recognising that everyone has a role to play in stamping out racism.
Campaign for improvement and share resources
As part of their commitment to addressing racism, the NSWNMA signed up to the Australian Human Rights Commission Racism – it stops with me campaign. Through this campaign, members of the reference group have used their insights, personal experiences and expertise to develop guidance for health and aged care workers on what to do if they experience racism, how to take bystander action and also how to navigate those unacceptable workplace behaviours experienced by many. Check out the resources:
Address the systemic issues in the workplace, industry and Australian culture
However, the group recognises that providing information, whilst helpful, is addressing the impact and not the cause. The group are committed to broadening their collective advocacy through ongoing projects, which tackle the systemic issues that allow racism to flourish.
There needs to be a cultural and racial safety lens scanning all health and aged care organisations that focuses on the lived experiences of nurses and midwives working in them. There needs to be a seat at the table in decision-making for culturally, racially, and linguistically diverse nurses and midwives and empowerment through proportionate representation in upper tier management structures. A doing with, rather than doing for approach that is more likely to succeed in creating safer workplaces.