The Role of RCNA in Promoting Transcultural Nursing as a Discipline of Study, Research, Practice and Management in Australia

Article excerpt


Royal College of Nursing, Australia has supported the development and growth of transcultural nursing in Australia for well over a decade.The College's leadership role has been evident on a number of fronts with events, publications and national networking opportunities for nurses who share a passion for furthering the principles and practice of transcultural nursing. This paper traces the journey of transcultural nursing in Australia from the perspective of the College, beginning with its role in forming the Transcultural Nursing Society in the 1990s.Achievements are highlighted, as well as continuing work over the intervening years, demonstrating the involvement and leadership of the College in Australia, in this important area of nursing practice. With increasing complexity in the ethnic profile of Australia's society, it is of ongoing relevance for the College to promote transcultural nursing as a discipline of study, research, practice and management in this country.

Received 15 July 2007 Accepted 16 October 2007


Royal College of Nursing, Australia; transcultural nursing; national network; Transcultural Nursing Society; multicultural; Indigenous; position statements; culturally diverse; care needs


In 1994, Royal College of Nursing,Australia, with support from members, established a Transcultural Nursing Society. This move was indicative of nursing trends at the time relating to the growing interest in, and commitment to transcultural nursing education, research, management and practice.The Society reflected the College's preparedness to take a leadership role in forming a national group of nurses interested in fostering and promoting culturally relevant nursing care practice. In welcoming transcultural nursing, the College was the first nursing organisation to embrace this concept of care and give transcultural nursing a firm place as a discipline within the profession. Indeed the College remains the only national nursing organisation in Australia to support transcultural nursing with a Transcultural National Network for its members.

This paper will trace the journey of transcultural nursing in Australia from the perspective of the College, beginning with the formation of the Transcultural Nursing Society, highlighting achievements and continuing work over more than a decade of involvement and leadership in this important area of nursing practice.


In the early 1990s the College was creating specialty network groups for members - called Societies - to facilitate sharing of ideas, research, innovations in practice and education models, across a range of interest areas.The aim of the Societies was also to provide a structure of programs which would 'foster professional development of members, individuals and the profession' (RCNA Archive File 863a 1994-96). Importantly the Societies would be 'a mechanism for identifying and drawing upon the specific interests and expertise of members through whom the work of the College could be furthered'. These Societies included: Research, Education, Gerontology, Clinical Practice, Legal Issues, Ethics, and Transcultural Nursing. Over time there were changes in the nature and purpose of these groups with some rolling into other groups and new groupings being formed. Today there are fourteen such groups, which are now termed National Networks.

Having formed in April 1994, the Transcultural Nursing Society was one of the initial Societies, and resulted from strong representation from members. Dr Akram Omeri FRCNA was a prime instigator of the Society and the first Chair of the initial management group, and has remained the staunchest advocate for this group over the years. In addition, Dr Omeri has been an advisor to the College on issues relating to transcultural nursing, and continues in this role to the present time.

Initial canvassing of the College membership elicited overwhelming support for the establishment of a Transcultural Nursing Society. …


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