Whole-Group Caring: Wise Practices for Indigenous Health American Holistic Nurses Association Conference Tulsa, OK

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Abstract
Within Indigenous communities “culture is healing.” Reclaiming and revitalizing an Indigenous worldview, knowledge and ancestral wise practices are protective health factors and are vital to co-creating culturally smart care and reducing the significant and health disparities experienced by Indigenous peoples. Wise practices are grounded in a worldview that is relational and honors interconnectedness in all of creation. Here, health is a function of balance between multiple interdependent elements including: extended family, tribe, environment, spirituality, culture, history, and environments – and often conflicts with the philosophy and practice of Western medicine. Wise practices govern behaviors and actions much like best practices but in a distinctly different way. However, they are demonstrably different. Wise health practices are highly contextual (e.g., interdependency of health factors, ancestral relationships to health, intimately connections to the land, the lasting effects of colonization). In addition, they are egalitarian, idiosyncratic, collective, diverse, locally relevant, sustainable, respectful, flexible, and based on real world experience. On the other hand, Western notions of best practices are hierarchical, low context, standardized, hegemonic, generalizable and scalable to other populations. Further, wise-practitioners are recognizable community members who demonstrate the characteristics of wisdom whereas; best-practitioners are regarded as superior to others in specialized groups. Join this interactive session for an exploration of distinctions between wise and best practice, their importance in culturally smart whole-person and whole-group caring; engage in a fruitful dialog about implications for holistic nursing practice and research contribution to achieving health equity in Indigenous communities. The purpose of this interactive session is to (1) familiarize educators, practitioners and researchers with distinctions between Indigenous and Western worldviews, knowledge and principles that govern practices in healthcare; and (2) examine wise practices as culturally appropriate whole-person/whole-group care and their contribution to achieving health equity in Indigenous communities.
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