Obesity and Discrimination
The Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) covers obesity in the Disability Discrimination Act which states that discrimination of a person due to their disability is against the law. Pause (2017) in an article proves that obese people are discriminated worldwide in various fields of expertise, socially and also in health centers which leads to stigmatization. Discrimination highly affects the health of the person mentally and physically (Sutin et al., 2016).
In order to engage in medical practices in Australia, health care centers are expected to be registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA), as well as meet the professional standards. The NMBA has the codes of conduct, codes of ethics and standards of practice for nurses. The code of conduct for nurses in Australia has 6 principles that include the principle of cultural practice and respectful relationships with the nurses. They should avoid bias and discrimination and challenge belief based on assumption i.e. due to race, gender, disability and others as stated in the Code of Conduct for nurses (NMBA, 2018).
The Code of Ethics (ICN, 2012) the fundamental roles of a nurse and also explains that the rights of a patient should be respected by nurses, treat them with respect despite their age, religion, race, disabilities, etc. The principles enlisted by the ICN involve the relationship of the nurse with the patient and how the nurse attends or conducts certain services for the well-being of the patient. It is observed that the health status of a patient may affect how the nurse will attend to them, especially the obese who in some cases a doctor may not feel free to discuss health issues with them.
Facilities in the hospitals need to be considered i.e. the size of beds, doors, etc. to accommodate the obese (Masterson, 2016). The ambulance bays, doorways, or a large resuscitation bay and an isolation room. At least one-fifth of the chairs in the waiting room should be big enough to accommodate very big visitors as explained by Masterson (2016) who also adds on that according to NSW Health, Australian hospitals have experienced a large number of high weight people like in 2013-2014 a total of 60,000 admissions involving obesity cases.
Standards for the practice of nurses (2016) provide the standards that an enrolled nurse is expected to nurses and midwives in Australia meet the professional requirements and safe practice. The Enrolled Nurse (EN) standards for practice are availed to the community, government agencies, educators and healthcare professionals. These standards are used to evaluate nurses in different situations; assessing students and new graduates, nurses educated overseas who seek jobs in Australia, also asses the enrolled nurses who come back to work after a break or leave.
The Enrolled Nurse standards for practice are applicable for benchmarking as a way to determine competence by nurses under practice. Therefore, this will ensure nurses are able to fairly and competently attend to all patients regardless of the race, religion, politics, disabilities and other challenges that will limit service delivery. Actions by the nurse will determine if they are in-line with the codes of conduct, the standards of practice, and the code of ethics by the NMBA.
1. Code of Conduct for Nurses (NMBA 2018).
2. Masterson, A. (2016).Weighing in: Push to change minds on obesity. https://www.smh.com.au/healthcare/a-quarter-of-us-are-obese-20161109-gslg0g.html
3. Pause, C. (2017). How Australia’s Discrimination Laws and public health campaigns perpetuate fat stigma. ABC News. Retrieved from http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-07-11/fat-stigma-australia-discrimination-laws-and-health-campaigns/8697572 on 5/21/2018.
4 Standards for practice for nurses (NMBA 2016). Retrieved from http://www.nursingmidwiferyboard.gov.au/Codes-Guidelines-Statements/Professional-standards.aspx on 5/21/2018.
5. Sutin, R. A, Stephan, Y., Grzywacz, G.J., Robinson, E., Daly, M., & Terraccian, A. (2016) Perceived Weight Discrimination, Changes in Health, and Daily Stressors Retrieved from https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1002/oby.21598
6. The Code of Ethics (ICN 2012)