Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health


A person’s culture is more than its external characteristics. And the same is reflected and perceived while valuing, having set beliefs, and the attitudes that could provide a continually modified new situation. Being a health care worker, it is important to consider a way to overcome the challenges. Fairness and equality within the healthcare system are necessary to provide quality services and treating the patients. In my opinion, cultural competence is all about how to follow the practices with the broadness, unbiased approach to the beliefs, customs, values, language, having an identity due to the tradition, and communicating freely and honestly (Goldman, & Trimmer, 2019). Such as, when treating the Aboriginal patient, one should not look directly into the eyes while communicating, as a gesture of respect (McCalman, Benveniste, Wenitong, Saunders & Hunter, 2020). Due to the health gaps, there has been a major health inequality, faced between the Indigenous people and the non-Indigenous Australians. The majority of the indigenous people experience chronic and communicable diseases and have deteriorating mental health along with experiencing a fall in life expectancy. I have seen disparities in healthcare while treating patients from diverse backgrounds. It is important to be unbiased while treating and caring for the patient. As per the worldview, the healthcare system is based on the approach of how one thinks and does, at the expense of the others. It is also following a principle to treat with the thinking of perceiving others while providing quality services. Aboriginal people do not have the same thinking as of providing a biomedical model, which is part of the health part of Australia's healthcare system. To differentiate, it is important to identify culturally safe healthcare practices to the First Peoples (D’Antoine, et al, 2019)

So what?

Health inequality has been one of the disturbing issues, which cannot be ignored due to the rise in chronic diseases, experiencing renal failure, experiencing cardio-vascular diseases, and having diabetes. There has been declining health identified in First Nations, which can be notably be experienced since birth, for example, infants, commonly experience the condition of otitis media and trachoma, causing low educational attainment and even employment (Driscoll, 2007). Aboriginal people have poor education, poor healthcare, low employment, and low hygiene along with the wellbeing factors are prime social determinants factors experienced. Aboriginal people have also shown a rising trend in sexually transmitted diseases and the growing higher trends of HIV/AIDS prevalence. Substance abuse is common in the Aboriginal people and there has been a risky behavior depicting alcohol and tobacco use. Aboriginal people also have many health problems and gaps that go unnoticed and remain undiagnosed along with significant low mental health and oral/dental health problems. As a practicing nurse, I would follow the verbal and nonverbal cues of respecting the Aboriginal health and abiding by the code of conduct to provide better care, quality services. My main aim is to provide an equal and fair approach (McDonald, et al, 2018). 

Now what?

The prime objective of the government is to promote fairness inequitable distribution for the primary health care, services and equitable standards. It is important to understand the culturally-based approaches and basic human rights to overcome health inequality. From the worldview perspective, a healthcare worker also has to abide by the international human rights and provide better care in health. To overcome the health inequality the first step is to reduce discrimination and promote an equal opportunity, health access, and even attain equal health services. As a nurse, it is necessary to provide equal standard care and fair practices (Goldman & Trimmer, 2017). The culturally-based approaches are identified to be a holistic approach, it is necessary to overcome the social determinants of health inequality and inequalities (Walker, 2017).

References for Culturally Inclusive Model of Care

Driscoll, J. (2007). Practicing Clinical Supervision: A Reflective Approach for Healthcare Professionals. Edinburgh: Elsevier

D’Antoine, H., Abbott, P., Sherwood, J., Wright, M., Bond, C., Dowling, C., ... & Bessarab, D. (2019). A collaborative yarn on qualitative health research with Aboriginal communities. Australian Indigenous Health Bulletin19(2), 1-7.

Goldman, N., & Trimmer, K. (2019). Towards a Culturally Inclusive Model of Care: Quality Practice and Care Through the Lens of a Practising Nurse. In Ensuring Quality in Professional Education Volume I (pp. 123-149). Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.

McCalman, J., Benveniste, T., Wenitong, M., Saunders, V., & Hunter, E. (2020). "It's all about relationships": The place of boarding schools in promoting and managing the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander secondary school students. Children and Youth Services Review, 104954.

McDonald, H., Browne, J., Perruzza, J., Svarc, R., Davis, C., Adams, K., & Palermo, C. (2018). Transformative effects of Aboriginal health placements for medical, nursing, and allied health students: A systematic review. Nursing & health sciences20(2), 154-164.

Walker, P. A. (2017). Caring About Racism: Early Career Nurses' Experiences With Aboriginal Cultural Safety (Doctoral dissertation).

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