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Cultural competency in the medical field

February 13 marks the anniversary of the formal National Apology to the Stolen Generation. It marks a public commitment to learn from the mistakes of the past, strive to improve our practices at present, and build towards a better future.

For medical professionals, the National Apology day offers a good reminder of the importance of cultural competency among medical professionals. Cultural competency focuses on the patient, and ensures that the unique cultural and social aspects of each patient are considered by the health professionals who provide care.

A culturally competent medical professional can ensure a culturally safe environment, and that treatment is tailored to each patient’s context. [link 2] This, in turn, is key to establish positive relationships and trust. In the long term, a trust-based relationship between medical professionals and patients can help ensure treatment compliance and follow-up, and ultimately, can help improve the health outcomes of patients.

This is why RANZCO has resources developed around improving cultural competency of our members, which are embedded in RANZCO’s training program. At the moment, RANZCO is reviewing its curriculum, with a key aim of strengthening cultural competency elements within the training program. This is a crucial part of RANZCO’s ongoing strive to ensure that our trainees receive all the tools they will need to offer the best health care to all patients.