Chapter 2 – Inclusive Approaches to Health Assessment
We hope that this chapter contributes to your advocacy work and inspires you to engage in confronting oppression by dismantling the systems that support it. You can begin by engaging with clients in health assessments that are respectful and recognize their humanity.
Power and privilege negatively affect the health of marginalized people. It is important to consider the effects of power structures at the individual level – think about illness and its roots. Consider how social oppression shapes the everyday struggles of marginalized groups. These individuals must struggle to overcome the effects of these forces: over time, a client’s resistance to intersecting levels of oppression can be internalized and affect their health. When interacting with clients in health assessments, try to make a deliberate attempt to dismantle oppressive structures.
Honour the knowledge of the client you are caring for. Your clients have knowledge of themselves, their being, and their experiences. This knowledge is important. If we as healthcare providers frame ourselves as the knower of all people, we are assessing and delivering care from a position of power: we are missing out on what it means to do an inclusive and individualized health assessment. You should embrace the knowledge clients have of their own bodies and minds. Clients also do their own assessment of nurses – they assess how well you tap into their knowledge and wisdom. You will need to reach a place where you understand your own privilege and power and can be attentive and conscientious about yourbiases.
Recognize your biases. How can you care for clients without imposing your biases? Health assessments involve a nurse’s subjective as well as objective knowledge. If your subjective views are influenced by bias, this can affect client engagement and ultimately the outcomes of health assessments. Think about what you need to relearn and unlearn.