01/13/2015 12:00 EST | Updated 03/15/2015 05:59 EDT

Aboriginal health focus of new textbook by Vasiliki Douglas

A new textbook for nursing students written focuses on health care for aboriginal people in Canada.

Author Vasiliki Douglas said she discovered a need for the book while teaching a course on First Nations health to nursing students the College of New Caledonia.

"There was no survey text available to us. We grappled with this. It was a difficulty, and although we had collected various materials — statistic reports, research articles published in peer reviewed journals — it really wasn't satisfactory," Douglas told Daybreak North's Russell Bowers.

The textbook focuses on how culture intersects with health in First Nations communities.

"The one common thread [across First Nations] is the importance of culture, the role of culture ... within their communities."

Douglas said understanding a patient's background is key to her own approach to nursing.

"I never can really segregate the individual from his culture or her culture. It's part and parcel of their identity," she said.

She hopes providing students with a better understanding of aboriginal culture will help them better serve aboriginal patients.

The book is called Introduction to Aboriginal Health and Health Care in Canada: Bridging Health and Healing, and Douglas said it has been well received by her students so far.

To hear more about Vasiliki Douglas's new textbook on aboriginal health, click the audio labelled: Textbook addresses aboriginal health.