What constitutes ‘support’ for the role of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child health workforce?Karen Watson A B E , Jeanine Young A D E and Margaret Barnes B
A Royal Children’s Hospital, Herston Road, Herston, QLD 4029, Australia.
B School of Nursing and Midwifery, Faculty of Science, Health, Education and Engineering, University of the Sunshine Coast, Maroochydore, QLD 4558, Australia.
C Research Centre for Clinical and Community Practice Innovation, Griffith University, 170 Kessels Rd, Nathan, QLD 4111, Australia.
D Centre for Online Health, University of Queensland, Royal Children’s Hospital, Herston, QLD 4029, Australia.
E Corresponding author. Email: Kwatson1@usc.edu.au
Submitted: 16 August 2011 Accepted: 13 May 2012 Published: 21 December 2012
As well as providing primary health care services, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workers are known to significantly contribute to the overall acceptability, access and use of health services through their role of cultural brokerage in the communities within which they work. As such they are uniquely positioned to positively influence health improvements for this vulnerable population. This study sought to identify key areas that both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous health professionals working within Indigenous communities felt were important in providing support for their roles. This group of workers require support within their roles particularly in relation to cultural awareness and capability, resource provision, educational opportunities, collaboration with colleagues and peers, and professional mentorship.
What is known about the topic? Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workers are known to significantly contribute to the overall acceptability, access and use of health services in the communities within which they work. As such they are uniquely positioned to positively influence health improvements for this population.
What does this paper add? Through consultation with a sample of Indigenous child health workers and child health workers key areas necessary to provide support for the individuals working in these roles have been identified.
What are the implications for practitioners? The findings from this study will inform policy and program development in order to more comprehensively support health workers in the community and contribute towards workforce development and satisfaction, recruitment and retention.
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