Background Cultural safety in higher education learning and teaching environments is paramount to positive educational outcomes for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander (hereafter called First Peoples) students. There is a lack of research evaluating the impact of continuing professional development on midwifery academics' awareness of cultural safety.
Aim To implement and evaluate a continuing professional development intervention to improve midwifery academics' awareness of cultural safety in supporting First Peoples midwifery students success.
Methods A pre-post intervention mixed methods design was used. Academics (n = 13) teaching into a Bachelor of Midwifery program agreed to participate. The intervention consisted of two workshops and five yarning circles across a semester. Data included the Awareness of Cultural Safety Scale, self-assessment on cultural safety and perceptions of racism, evaluation of the intervention, participants’ journal entries, and researcher's reflections.
Findings Responses on the Awareness of Cultural Safety Scale revealed significant improvement in participants’ awareness of cultural safety. There was an upward trend in self-assessment ratings. Participants reported high levels of satisfaction with the intervention or workshops and yarning circles. Participants’ journal entries revealed themes willingness to participate and learn, confidence as well as anger and distress.
Conclusion Increased awareness of cultural safety can be transformative for midwifery academics. Workshops and yarning circles can support academics in moving beyond a ‘sense of paralysis’ and engage in challenging conversations to transform their learning and teaching and in turn foster a culturally safe learning and teaching environment for First Peoples midwifery students towards success.