Australian Health Review Australian Health Review Society
Journal of the Australian Healthcare & Hospitals Association
RESEARCH ARTICLE

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

Australian Health Review 37(1) 112-116 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/AH11079
Submitted: 16 August 2011  Accepted: 13 May 2012   Published: 21 December 2012

Abstract

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.


References

[1]  Barnes M, Rowe J, Roden J. Locating the child, young person and family in contemporary healthcare. In: Barnes M, Rowe J, editors. Child, youth and family health. Strengthening communities. Marrickville : Churchill Livingstone; 2008.

[2]  Australian Bureau of Statistics. National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey. Australia 2004–05. (2006) ABS Cat no. 4715.0. Available at http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/Lookup/4715.0Main+Features12004-05 [verified 16 October 2012]

[3]  Murray RB, Wronski I. When the tide goes out: health workforce in rural, remote and communities. Med J Aust 2006; 185 37–8.
| 16813549PubMed | open url image1

[4]  Mikhailovich K, Morrison P, Arabena K. Evaluating Australian Indigenous community health promotion initiatives: a selective review. Rural Remote Health 2007; 7 746
| 17550334PubMed | open url image1

[5]  Queensland Health. Child and youth health practice manual for child and youth health nurses and indigenous child health workers . Queensland Health. 2007; Available at http://www.health.qld.gov.au/child-youth/webpages/CYHP-manual.asp [verified 16 October 2012]

[6]  Queensland Health. Indigenous Child health worker role . 2007. Queensland Health.

[7]  Genat B. Aboriginal health workers. Primary healthcare at the margins. Perth: University of Western Australia Press; 2006.

[8]  Queensland Health. Baby Help. When to see your health worker, nurse or doctor. Health information booklet, 2008. Available at http://qheps.health.qld.gov.au/mchs/docs/babyhelp_book.pdf [verified 16 October 2012]

[9]  Minichiello V, Sullivan G, Greenwood K, Axford R. Handbook of research methods for nursing and health science . 2nd ed. Frenchs Forest: Pearson Education Australia; 2004.

[10]  Newell R, Burnard P. Research for evidence-based practice . Oxford: Blackwell Publishing; 2006.

[11]  National Health and Medical Research Council. 2003. The NHMRC Road Map: a strategic framework for improving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health through research. Australian Government. Available at http://www.nhmrc.gov.au/_files_nhmrc/publications/attachments/r28.pdf [verified 16 October 2012]

[12]  Queensland Health. Child health information: your guide to the first 12 months. Queensland Health; 2010.

[13]  Queensland Health. Strong baby series. Queensland Health, 2002. Available at http://www.health.qld.gov.au/ph/documents/hpu/growing_strong.asp [verified 16 October 2012]

[14]  Queensland Health. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workforce strategy 2009–2012. Queensland Health; 2009. Available at http://www.health.qld.gov.au/indigenous_workforce/docs/Strategy-2009-2012.pdf [verified 16 October 2012]

[15]  Queensland Health. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander. cultural capability framework 2010–2033. Queensland health; 2010. Available at http://www.health.qld.gov.au/atsihealth/documents/cultural_capability.pdf [verified 16 October 2012]



Export Citation Cited By (2)