Where is Cultural Safety in Education?

  • Mary Smith Queen's University
  • Michelle Spadoni Lakehead University
  • Sandra Kioke


Three nurse researchers came together in 2015 to conduct a study focusing on Indigenous learning within a Nurse Practitioner program in Canada. This work unfolds here as a series. The first, brings to the fore the researchers’ relationship with the research answering the question “Who am I in relation to the Research?” This is followed by an account of the research, “A call to action: Faculty perspectives of cultural safety within a nurse practitioner curriculum.” Coming to know the researchers’ experiences within the context of nursing education, practice and their personal life experiences became a vital activity, one that would drive and instigate the overall research endeavour. Through this integral process the researchers functioned also as participants where analysis was both self-interpretative and hermeneutic. Preunderstandings molded through societal, cultural and historical forces interconnected with meanings of Indigenous methodology. Unearthing root assumptions through critical dialogues and stories was found to illuminate embedded world-views that challenged pervasive colonial perceptions critical to understanding the interwoven nature of cultural safety and reconciliation. This writing may be of high interest for researchers and educators wishing to create and sustain culturally safe spaces in practice and learning environments.

Author Biographies

Mary Smith, Queen's University
Mary Smith recently graduated with a PhD in Nursing from the University of Victoria. Her research has revolved around Indigenous philosophies and methodologies, including autoethnography and hermeneutics, with a focus on nursing pedagogy, mental and renal health. Mary is an Assistant Professor at Queen’s University and has been teaching both Nurse Practitioner and Nursing students since 2012. 
Michelle Spadoni, Lakehead University
Michelle Spadoni is an Associate Professor at Lakehead University School of Nursing. Her research interests include exploring compassion through artful and storied ways of knowing, and Indigenous perspectives of compassion in contemporary healthcare. She is a RN and holds a BA(N); MA(N), DNP and holds an Associated Medical Services Phoenix Fellow.
Sandra Kioke
Sandra Kioke, RN, MSc, PHCNP (Graduate), GNC(C), recently graduated from Queen’s University as a Primary Health Care Nurse Practitioner. Prior to this, she worked as a nurse and administrator in many Indigenous communities and as a nursing educator. Her interests focus on working with Indigenous communities to deliver quality health services.
Postcolonial Responses