Nursing Practice on Same Sex Couples in Australia
This assignment is a discussion of the ramifications of nursing practice in the family setting. The discussion is based on the ever evolving family unit over years in terms of family structures, commitments and child rearing practices. The discussion achieves this task through looking closely at recent trends of homosexual couples and rural families in Australia and their impacts on the family unit and the role of nursing practitioners in dealing with homosexual couples and rural families in Australia.
Definition of the Family
A family can be defined as a group of persons directly linked by kin connections, the adult members of whom assume responsibility for the caring of the children and it comes about as a result of marriage. It can also be seen as a social arrangement based on marriage including the recognition of the rights and duties of the parenthood, common residence for the husband, wife and children and a reciprocal or between the husband and wife (Corbett, 2004).
This definition has been seen by many family analysts as a template for defining a family because it contains the key tenets of defining a family world-wide. These tenets include the phrases more than one person, adults and children and occurring as a result of marriage. Many countries have different definitions of a family which depend on their cultural norms, religious values and the law (Collins, Jordan & Coleman, 2009).
Traditionally, the typical family (which was seen as ideal) was composed of a working father, a house keeping mother and their children who entirely depended on their parents for their daily needs. The typical family was presumed to serve the primary role of reproducing new members to the society for its continuation. It was also supposed to be the primary unit of the society charged with the responsibility of socializing new members to the society (Collins, et al, 2009).
However, many changes have taken place over the years, which have seen the family take different definitions, forms and functions in the society. For instance, the school, social media and peer influence have assumed the socializing role of the family. Similarly, the influence of activism in advocating for human rights have seen the emergence and legal acceptance of same sex families in some countries like Netherlands, Argentina, Brazil, Iceland and Canada (Collins, et, al, 2009).
The agitation of gender equality and equity by feminist groups have seen the number of working women increase significantly thus making many working mothers have less time to play their traditional domestication role. Similarly, over the years, there has been an increase in urbanisation, where people (especially the youth) have been moving from the rural areas to the urban areas thus leaving the young and the aged in the rural areas with little or no support for their care and upkeep (Collins, et, al, 2009).
These have resulted into many forms of families with diverse structures and functions. To sum up it all, a family may therefore be viewed as a social institution where the members are related through blood or adoption and it involves commitment by its members to their respective roles (Collins, et al, 2009).
Definition of Marriage
Marriage is a union between two people, preferably of the opposite gender, which is institutionalised by the payment of bride wealth, religious or civil processes. Marriage is primarily for procreation of children, though other marriages are meant to consolidate wealth, create security over property or provide companionship for the couple. The marriage institution, same as the family has undergone tremendous transformations over the years, with newer forms of marriage emerging.
Traditionally, a marriage was supposed to act as a tool for sexual satisfaction and procreation. Men were supposed to take care of their wives and love them while the wives were supposed to respect their husbands. Men were more likely to marry more than one spouse than women. These have however to many forms of marriages with legal acceptance in various countries as explained above (Peoples & Bailey p.170).
This is a speciality in the field of Medicare which deals with the provision of a holistic and individualized care to patients. It has got various specialties including family health, paediatrics, acute care, care for the elderly (gerontology), occupational health, child care and adult health. Nursing practitioners are those nurses who have undergone an extra training beyond the undergraduate level to acquire a masters and sometimes a doctorate degree in nursing depending on the country of residence. Nursing practitioners are licenced by various organs of the government; for example, nursing boards (Alexander, Fawcett & Runciman, 2004).
Nursing practice is based on three key tenets namely prevention, education of patients and their families and wellness of patients. Nursing practitioners are therefore not concerned only with the diagnosis and treatment of various illnesses but are also concerned with the psychosocial environment and its influence on the health of patients. They use their knowledge, skills and competencies to intervene in health care provision to individuals in a customized and holistic manner. They are also involved in research work on emerging trends, knowledge and inventions in the health care sector and how to improve the services they provide to patients (Alexander, et al, 2004).
The Australian Family
The family unit in Australia has undergone through significant transformations over time, same as other families in the world. Most of the transformations have been influenced by the western type of culture, popular in the United States and Europe. Most of the familial arrangements in Australia are therefore similar to the western familial arrangements.
According to the Australian Bureau of statistics, a family is composed of two or more persons, one of whom is at least 15 years of age, who are related by blood, marriage (registered or de facto), adoption, step or fostering, and who are usually resident in the same household (ABE, 2004). A house hold in in this context is used to mean people who share cooking and sleeping arrangements.
In Australia, there are various forms of families including same sex families, single parent families, , men headed families or households as well as children headed families. Many of the families live in the urban areas where there is adequate access to infrastructure like health care, education, employment and other basic social amenities (FaCS, 2004).
In Australia, same sex marriage is prohibited under the commonwealth law through the 1961 marriage Act which defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman. However, de facto relationships, which may be homosexual or heterosexual, are governed by state laws which also govern cohabitation, property adjudication after separation and spouse maintenance agreements. This means that some State laws may recognise same sex couples (which are de facto relationships) as genuine couples and accord them rights and privileges which are accorded to heterosexual couples. The States which recognize same sex couples under their law include Western Australia, Tasmania, Queensland, Victoria and (Dempsey & Vaus, 2004). pp.157-178).
According to the Australian Bureau of statistics, it is not easy to get the actual statistics of the population of the same sex couples in Australia. This is mainly because the Australian society generally (over 85%) does not embrace the idea of same sex marriages. This means that the same sex couples are reluctant of declaring their sexual orientation for the fear of stigmatization and social exclusion (ABS, 2004).
However, statistics from the 2006 national population and housing census indicated that the population of same sex couples had doubled from 0.2% in 1996 to 0.4% in 2006. This is an indication that many people are eventually willing to disclose their sexual orientation for the purposes of census. The impact of this trend on the family unit is that it is undergoing through radical departure from the traditional conceptualization of the family. Many of the same sex couples in Australia are men (gays). However, lesbian couples are more likely to bring into their marriage children from their heterosexual marriages. Most gay couples have children through adoption (AIHW, 2004),
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the population of families which live in the rural areas represent 14% of the total population. Majority of those who live in the rural areas are young children aged between 0-15 years and their parents in the age bracket of 35-44 years. Most of the youth (15-35 years) and the elderly (over 65years) live in the urban areas. The youth mainly move to the urban areas for search of employment and education opportunities while the elderly move to live with their relatives or children (Brandon, 2004. pp. 179-192.).