According to the literature, many health professionals have little or no knowledge of the post-colonial legacies and cultural values of Aboriginal people, yet the impact of poor understanding undermines respect and compounds communication barriers. In recognition of this and the importance of two-way communication in health care, the Combined Universities Centre for Rural Health developed an Online Aboriginal Cultural Orientation program.

The online program, inclusive of information, videos, activities and links to further resources, consists of five self directed learning modules that promotes the professional responsibility of each participant to develop or enhance the skills they need to become effective independent learners in developing their own ongoing cultural competency, initially by gaining an understanding of:

  • culture, self and diversity;
  • the link between historical legacies and the determinants of health;
  • common barriers for Aboriginal people in health services;
  • culturally respectful clinical practice; and
  • strategies to improve and develop cultural security.

The free on-line program aims to improve timely access to generic cultural orientation for health professionals and students; prior to clinical placements or on recruitment, or soon after commencing employment. It does not replace local cultural orientation, where information about local protocols, language groups, mentors and Aboriginal networks and services should be accessed to facilitate ongoing learning, which is essential for health professionals to develop a deeper understanding of Aboriginal cultural values and practices at a local level.

The online Aboriginal cultural orientation program takes approximately 2.5 hours to complete (depending on time spent following links provided to further education) and it can be done over 120 days without loss of completed assessments. It has been endorsed by the Royal College of Nursing Australia (attracting 3CPD points). Since its launch in mid December 2009, there are over 1,700 registered users across Australia and 210 completed online feedback surveys indicating a high level of support.

For more information contact:
Jan Hall Assistant Professor
Ph: 08 99560247