Using the First Nations Medicine Wheel as an Aid to Ethical Decision-Making in Healthcare

By Schroeter, Annette; Brunton, Nicole et al. | The Canadian Journal of Native Studies, July 1, 2017 | Go to article overview

Using the First Nations Medicine Wheel as an Aid to Ethical Decision-Making in Healthcare


Schroeter, Annette, Brunton, Nicole, Kakekagumick, Kara, Cromarty, Helen, Linkewich, Barbara, O'Driscoll, Terry, Kelly, Len, The Canadian Journal of Native Studies


Attention to culturally safe care can significantly impact medical treatments and healthcare programs. Failure to take indigenous perspectives and cultures seriously can contribute to negative treatment and wellness outcomes (Green 2010; Lloyd, Wise, Weeramanthri & Nugus 2009). Best practices would suggest health care workers and administrators acknowledge the necessity of shaping theories, practices and policies that take into account Aboriginal perspectives and cultures (Roberts, Harper, Tuttle-Eagle, Heideman-Provost, 1998). Improving cultural sophistication in healthcare is of considerable ethical significance. The World Medical Association notes that identifying, developing and improving behavior and decision-making processes with regard to cultural safety is a key component to good health care delivery (Williams, 2015). They identify that questions of value, rights and responsibilities are core to decent decision-making healthcare ethics (Williams, 2015). Culturally safe care requires that we focus particularly on the values that underpin healthcare in cross cultural contexts (see Figure 1) (Kelly, 2012). It also requires that alternative cultural values and voices be included in clinical and research decision making (Walker et al., 2010).

In this article, the authors present the results of a qualitative study introducing the traditional First Nation medicine wheel as a resource for healthcare workers dealing with ethical issues arising from medical care for the Indigenous population of northwestern Ontario. Traditionally the medicine wheel symbolizes the dimensions of health and the cycles of life. The authors hypothesized that it use in ethical decision-making in hospital setting which serves a primarily First Nations population would be useful (Native Voices, 2013).

Background

The Sioux Lookout Meno Ya Win Health Centre (SLMHC) is a Centre of Excellence for Aboriginal Healthcare located in Northwest Ontario (Sioux Lookout Meno Ya Win Health Centre 2014a). It is a fully accredited 60-bed hospital and a 20-bed extended care facility serving a catchment population of 30,000 primarily First Nations members of the 31 Nishnawbe Aski communities north of Sioux Lookout and the Treaty #3 community of Lac Seul First Nation. The focus of healthcare at SLMHC is the integration of traditional and Western medicines and practices while recognizing and respecting the cultural and linguistic diversity of the people. Its model of holistic care is based on recognizing the relationship of the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual aspects of the person (Sioux Lookout Meno Ya Win Health Centre 2014b). Previous research at the institution has documented the implementation of cross-cultural care in a culturally safe context, where more than 80% of patients are Anishnaabe First Nations members (Figure 1) (Walker et al., 2010).

The traditional First Nations medicine wheel was adapted at SLMHC to be used as a guide to ethical decision-making. We hoped to provide healthcare professionals, staff and patients at SLMHC a tool to assist the conceptualization and management of ethical dilemmas arising from clinical care delivery and from institutional policies and practices (see Appendix A). The authors were interested in evaluating the value of the Medicine Wheel Framework as an analytical tool for resolving complex moral dilemmas that occasionally arise in providing healthcare. They accessed three diverse groups involved in health care: patient, caregiver and organization.

The Medicine Wheel

The origin of the medicine wheel is unknown, but it has been part of the Aboriginal peoples' philosophy that lived in the Great Plains area of North America, from Canada to Mexico. It traditionally has been involved in knowledge acquisition: as a way to seek insight from the different concepts represented within the circle. As a model, the medicine wheel is a flexible, analytical tool that reflects many Aboriginal worldviews and cultures. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Using the First Nations Medicine Wheel as an Aid to Ethical Decision-Making in Healthcare
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.