At the time of writing this in October 2021, recent weeks have seen the release of our profession’s new professional capabilities, which were published in September on the Podiatry Board of Australia’s website.
The Board completed a drafting and public consultation process of our new professional capabilities, which led to their release and imminent instatement. Our new professional capabilities will come into effect on 1 January 2022.
The ‘professional capabilities’ for both podiatrists and podiatric surgeons are available here.
Here are some key points regarding the thresholds that registered podiatrists will need to meet and maintain within our newly released professional capabilities relating to cultural safety:
- Being a professional and ethical practitioner: ‘Treat each patient with respect, dignity and care.’ This is enabled by displaying culturally safe practice and recognising and respecting ‘Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ ways of knowing, being and doing in the context of history, culture and diversity.’
- Being a communicator and collaborator: ‘Examine and reflect on how one’s own culture influences perceptions and interactions with others from different cultures.’ The document lists enabling components for registered podiatrists be able to continually develop this capability. These are:
- ‘understand the impact of systemic racism and recognise the influence of one’s own cultural identity on perceptions of and interactions with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and people from other cultures’
- ‘recognise different forms of cultural bias and associated stereotypes that impact on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health; and practice in a culturally sensitive and inclusive manner’
- ‘recognise the role of history and relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and white Australian society and how this has affected the inequitable distribution of privileges’
These professional capabilities provide a pathway for our individual and collective development of cultural safety and for the ongoing development of cultural safety as a fundamental skill of a podiatrist.
As we continue our pursuit of the Ahpra strategy to embed cultural safety into the health system, these new professional capabilities will add to our profession’s key achievements.
These include recommending and advocating for changes to the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law to ensure consistency in cultural safety for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
We are signatories to the National Scheme’s strategy developed with the leadership of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health organisations and individuals and, through the Podiatry Board of Australia, also proudly endorse it, see here.