Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Philosophy (School of Nursing)

Schools and Centres

Nursing and Midwifery

First Supervisor

Dr Bethne Hart

Second Supervisor

Janine Mohamed


Cultural safety has been a developing movement within the nursing profession in Australia over the past decade, led by the Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses and Midwives. This thesis explores this progress towards cultural safety; with a focus upon the Schools of Nursing in Australia. The philosophical and educational shifts from cultural awareness and competence, towards cultural safety are required within these very Schools that prepare nurses for their profession and its practice.

This thesis utilises a descriptive survey method, derived from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Framework, to gather information about the Schools of Nursing and their commitment and readiness towards cultural safety. This research is undertaken within a Decolonisation theoretical framework, turning the ‘gaze’ upon those who hold the dominant cultural position. The findings demonstrate significant progress towards cultural safety strategies and actions. Weaknesses in progress are identified in areas of organisational resources, in the recognition of the knowledge and needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff and students, and in the ongoing project of decolonising curriculum and faculty.

Recommendations are presented to support the continuing pathways towards cultural safety within the nursing profession. Cultural safety – in its philosophy and practice – requires continuing shifts in each nurse, in their relationships and practice, and in the nursing education that powerfully shapes the health care of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Included in

Nursing Commons