You are asked to work a few more shifts on the Orthopaedic Ward.

You are asked to work a few more shifts on the Orthopaedic Ward. In your efforts to provide a better service to your patients and establish respectful relationships, you read the case notes thoroughly for all patients to become informed of their needs. The doctor’s round will also be staring soon so you want to be prepared.

Margaret’s granddaughter May has come to the ward quite early in the day, and is chatting to some of the women in the shared rooms. You think ‘that’s nice’, and note that she seems to know a lot of the Aboriginal women quite well. Feeling a bit concerned that she is here so early, (because visiting hours don’t start for another hour) you decide to wait for May to finish her conversations to talk to her. You then keep reading.

Someone sits down next to you at the desk, and picks up the nurse’s station phone. You look up to see May dialling an internal number, and paging a social worker. She begins to read something from a patients file….one if the ladies she had been speaking to earlier.

By this time your surprise has given way to panic; this is a breach of confidentiality! Reaching out you remove the file from in front of May and she looks surprise at the other end of the phone to ‘just hold for minute’. ‘What are you doing?” she asks. You then explain the confidential and privacy policy in great detail, including why she isn’t allowed to read files, use the internal phone and visit outside of the normal hours. You then ask that she go to the other side of the nurse’s station. She tells you she needs to “speak to ‘the aunties'” before the rounds commence so she can report any issues to the doctors and address any needs. You question her about her relationship with these ‘aunties’, and state ‘you can’t be related to all of them”.

May doesn’t say anything at all, but stands up and holds out something she is wearing around her neck. Which turns out to be her hospital identification. “Aboriginal Liaison Officer”

Another day, another apology.     a. How could you engage with May to promote a more culturally safe workplace for her? 

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