Reflecting on Working Culture

By Lucy Yan

Over the past numbers of years, the Working Culture series of workshops has been delivered in conjunction between Multicultural Aged Care Inc. and Working Culture in an effort to promote and provide culturally appropriate education to service provider in the aged care industry.

The workshops are a series of full-day seminars with different topics. For example, in 2010, MAC had seminars of Culturally Adept Communication, Culturally Competent Assessment, Increasing Cultural Competence, Working with Interpreters, Mental Health and Team Building.

The Working Culture workshop series started in 2009 and since it has been successfully carried out at MAC for 5 years. The aim of these workshops is to develop the competency of providing culturally appropriate care to elder people with culturally and linguistically diverse background (CALD). And the target groups of this workshop are the people who work with elder people from CALD backgrounds.

The most recent seminar was held on the 25th September 2013 at MAC, and it was co-presented by Ms Patricia Muncey, and Ms Agnieszka Chudecka, the training officer at MAC.

In the latest seminar, Culturally Competent Service Delivery, the presenters indicated several aspects to help participants develop a team or agency specific, culturally competent approach to service delivery. For instance, determining what is a culturally competent service delivery for the client group, and understanding the cycle of service.

As a social work student who is having placement at MAC, I was honored to have the opportunity to attend to one of the seminars on 25th September 2013, and I found out that it is really helpful in recognising cultural awareness and delivering culturally appropriate care in my future practices.

Especially, through the activities and discussions, I realised that cultural differences would lead to the misunderstandings and opposite consequences of what it should be. For example, in the seminar I was asked to talk about the feeling when I first arrive in Australia. I mentioned that as an International student who comes from China, the first thing that surprised me was that not many shops open on weekend. Because, in my perspective, weekend should be the time for shopping, but living in Australia for a while I realized that in western culture weekend is the time for gathering with family. And this becomes more understandable for me of why most of the shops are closed on weekend.

Besides, other participants provided some of their experience about living in a different cultural environment, as some of them are from different cultural backgrounds. In the discussion, I was amazed by some sharing examples and some of them set me thinking about the impact and the consequences of the fact from disparate cultural perspectives.

Time passed so fast during the discussions and activities and I felt like everyone was still in a lively discussion when the seminar was about to finished. And I really enjoyed the time of being in the seminar, and exchanged the opinions of developing competent in providing culturally appropriate care.