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Supervision guidelines for Pasifika

Supervision, cultural supervision or advice when working with Pasifika families is essential for cultural safety. Le Va’s work contributed to Te Pou’s recently updated supervision guidelines for developing the mental health nursing workforce, so we thought we’d give a bit of a summary. 

Do not assume cultural knowledge. Be prepared to consult during all stages of intervention. Ideally, seek ethnic specific advice from someone who has credibility in his or her own community. They can provide guidance on protocol and practices, such as: cultural status, appropriate speaking, personal space and touching, appropriate dress (safer to dress conservatively), prayer, and the etiquette surrounding respect, and reciprocity (Kingi-Uluave, Faleafa, Brown, & Wong, 2016).

An understanding of Pasifika concepts, worldview and words, can enable leaders and managers to better support nurses to develop the knowledge and skills needed to work with Pasifika people and their families.

Pasifika worldviews are inherently collective and relational. The ‘Va’ refers to the relational space between people. Traditionally, for Pasifika people, this relational space is sacred and exists between people, as well as between people and the environment, ancestors and the heavens. To nurture the Va is to respect and maintain the sacred space, harmony and balance within relationships.

Within this Va, a reciprocal flow of interpersonal exchanges occurs. The Va can be used by supervisors to explore and integrate similarities and differences in western and pacific views of health, wellbeing, addiction and clinical practice.



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