Working Effectively with Torres Strait Islander

Discuss about the Working Effectively with Torres Strait Islander.

People from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander are the oldest and the first inhabitants of Australia. The origin of aboriginal history is unclear. According to some researchers their history dates back to 45,000 years. The population estimate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people within Australia in 2011 was 670,000. The five events that was noticed to throw a huge impact on the history of aboriginal or the Torres Strait Islander mainly includes the stolen generation, the decent standard of the country and its kinship patters, forcing people to develop an aboriginal identity, colonisation and the aboriginal slavery. There was a period in history, when the children’s were considered as part white who were taken away from their families so that they could be civilised. Certain form of transgenerational effect over the policies were mainly noticed to remove the indigenous children over the emotional and social well being which was determined to be quite enduring. The notion of the country is determined to be more imperative in traditional times throughout the process of colonisation in contemporary times. One of the significant events within the Aboriginal history was the process of colonisation that triggered off battles and wars. This resulted in large scale casualties mostly among the native people. Another significant historical event that has impacted the health and well being of these people is the aboriginal slavery (Bennett, et al., 2011 p, 35). What do we know?  The experiences of social workers working alongside Aboriginal people.Australian social work, 64(1), 20-37). In between 1850 to 1904 more than 60000 people from South Pacific Islands were brought in to work in different plantations. The conditions of these workers were miserable and they were often subjected to physical and mental torture. These two colossal events in the history of Australia have definite effect on the health and well being of the indigenous people. Health inequalities arise as a result of inequality in the society and this can be witnessed when life expectancy between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians are analysed (Coffin, J. 2007 p, 55). Rising to the challenge in Aboriginal health by creating cultural security. Aboriginal and Islander Health Worker Journal, 31(3), 22).

One of the key issues in communicating with an aboriginal individual is the use of body language. These are often non verbal mode of communication and apart from body languages it may include gestures, postures and other cues. One of the main communication channels within many cultures is using internal networks. Most common three strategies that helps in facilitating effective communication firstly includes the concept of keeping an open mind within an unfamiliar situation, the person have to stay alert in communicating with different ways. Another common strategy includes developing empathy and understanding the other people who have experienced a great trauma during their lives. These networks are often extensive and include close relatives and family (Couzos, S., & Murray, R. 2008 p, 31). Aboriginal primary health care: an evidence-based approach. Oxford University Press). In case of Mr David too the same pattern can be seen. From the provided case study it may be seen that Mr David is comfortable in the presence of his nephew. Thus the nephew is the partner who can be used to develop the process of communication. Again the case study illustrates that English is not the preferred medium of communication. As a result pictorials and signs are useful in delivering the concepts. Again deliberate silence is also significant in allowing the information to percolate. Thus non verbal communication, body language and appropriate briefing are three useful strategies in communicating with Mr David (Dudgeon et al., p, 65). Working together: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health and wellbeing principles and practice. Pat).

Coordination within service delivery is important so as to enhance the quality of service delivery. From the case study the aspect of service delivery assumes criticality since the subject, Mr. David, is suffering from high blood sugar. Three most vital resourcesthat would help insupplying an effective service delivery mainly includes supplying proper meals to individuals, and in accordance to the age of the patient that the hospital should provide with support to the patients to help him carry out different activities in a proper manner. Also it would be important to provide consistency and reliability over the hospital services so that the patients could be supplied with care. It is extremely vital to understand the needs of the diverse ethnic groups so that they could enhance the services and satisfy the patients (Abbott et al., 2008 p, 39). Keeping in mind the age of the patient it is imperative that services are directed in a manner that upholds the sovereignty aswell as well being of the patient. Role of the nurses assume significance since treatment of diabetic patients is actually specific and depends and vary from one patient to another. Three resources within the context of service delivery to Mr. David include pathological as well as human resources. Role of an interlocutor is paramount in treating an Aboriginal individual. Mr. David’s cooperation is essential in delivering the requisite medical services. Services have to be delivered in a flexible manner and full use of the existing resources has to be made. If possible,a nurse from the same community of Mr. David will be immensely helpful in discharging the necessary services (Foster, C. 2006 p, 54). What nurses should know when working in Aboriginal communities. Canadian nurse, 102(4).

While working with Aboriginal people it has to be made sure that services are directed in manner that fully understands individual culture and helps in building relationships. Rapport building is the first and foremost strategy while working with people from a different community. Other requisites in developing and maintaining effective strategies include team based and patient centred care. Certain kinship rules and process of communication assumes a significant role in maintaining vital connection with people from aboriginal communities (Reading, C. L., & Wien, F. 2009 p, 31). 

Prince George, BC: National Collaborating Centre for Aboriginal Health). Role of self management assumes greater significance in the treatment of diabetes and Mr. David has to be made aware of the perils of type 2 diabetes. Self management theme of controlling the disease will encompass effective communication with Mr. David. Appropriate briefing will be particularly useful and Mr. David’s nephew has a significant role to play in the self management process. Involving diabetic specialist nurses (DSN) is another fruitful strategy that can be applied (Bennett et al., 2011 p, 67).

Some of the dimensions along which a culture varies include context, orientation and power distance index. Three of the cultural differences that may arise include conflicting behaviour, predicting behaviour and wrong interpretation. Cultures may be monochromic or polychromic. People who belong to monochromic cultures tend to do one thing at any given time. These people value orderliness and do not like interruptions. As such care needs to be given so as to maintain decorum and orderliness. Other problems as a result of cultural difference may be that of language problems (Coffin, J. 2007 p, 77). Rising to the challenge in Aboriginal health by creating cultural security. Aboriginal and Islander Health Worker Journal, 31(3), 22).Modern day clinical settings are influenced significantly by provider dominant relationship and scope exists where differences crop up as a result of cultural differences. One of the main barriers is the aspect of bias and personal views. Service delivery canbe significantly biased by the service provider’s personal background. Within cross cultural scenarios problem oriented methodology is quite useful in sorting out the cultural differences. In such a methodology communication and interaction is emphasised so as to extract data, illustrating the problem, planning for care and follow up activities. Problem oriented methodology will be quite useful in managing any conflict that may arise in treating Mr. David (Couzos, S., & Murray, R. 2008 p, 89). Aboriginal primary health care: an evidence-based approach. Oxford University Press).

Appropriate services are those that are accessible, affordable, accountable, and acceptable. Working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoplewill include building relationships based on trust and mutualrespect. Owing to economic paucity of these people affordable health care services are prerequisite. Many indigenous Australians suffer from complex health problems that need protracted consultation and thorough supervision. Services at three levels of system, organisation and individual work well and have to involve the community elders and kinship networks (Dudgeon et al., 2014 p, 90). Working together: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health and wellbeing principles and practice. Pat.

For a proper health care service supply it is extremely important to understand the needs of the healthcare teams and allow them to undergo different developed skills and training so that they could enhance their style of supplying healthcare services. It is also important to make the health care professionals develop an understanding of the variety of protocols that exist in the ethnic diverse groups and provide them with respect. To carry out different activities in team it is necessary to understand the culture of the people so that they could be respected. Developing an understanding and empathy for each other is quite essential for carry out different teamwork (McBain‐Rigg & Veitch, 2011 p, 66).

Health and Well being of the Aboriginal population

There are a lot of factors that have contributed to the poor health and well being of the aboriginal population. The fact that these aboriginal people are still residing in remote areas of the country that is not well connected makes them unable to access quality healthcare. There are cultural differences which exist between the mainstream population and the aboriginal people and this has really prevented a formal interaction of the aboriginal people with the mainstream population. The lack of trust and mutual respect which is evident in the general population in their interaction with the aboriginal people has prevented effective and lasting relationships from taking place and thus the aboriginal population have been left outside the ambit of the affordable healthcare and medical facilities. Communication is also another factor that has prevented the formal interaction of the aboriginal people with the mainstream population. The use of body languages such as gestures, signs and postures make them incomprehensible to the normal population and this has essentially prevented a normal interaction with these original inhabitants of Australia. These factors have played their part in ensuring that the aboriginal population are economically and socially backward as compared to the rest of the Australian population. The health and well being of the aboriginal population in Australia needs to be given more emphasis by the Australian government as these are the original inhabitants of the nation and their numbers are steadily decreasing over the years. The Australian government needs to communicate with the Aborigibnal people and promote awareness regarding health and well being. The government needs to engage with the aboriginal people and bring them back to the mainstream society. This will help in reducing the mistrust in the aboriginal people and help them to forget their sad history of physical and mental torture and thus they could be integrated with the mainstream society and brought under the purview of the healthcare establishments in Australia. This will help in improving the quality of life of the aboriginal people and thus they will be able to get access to quality healthcare and medical facilities in Australia.


Abbott, P., Gordon, E., & Davison, J. (2008). Expanding roles of Aboriginal health workers in the primary care setting: seeking recognition.Contemporary Nurse, 27(2), 157-164.

Bennett, B., Zubrzycki, J., & Bacon, V. (2011). What do we know? The experiences of social  workers working alongside Aboriginal people.Australian social work, 64(1), 20-37.

Coffin, J. (2007). Rising to the challenge in Aboriginal health by creating cultural security. Aboriginal and Islander Health Worker Journal, 31(3), 22.

Couzos, S., & Murray, R. (2008). Aboriginal primary health care: an evidence-based approach. Oxford University Press.

Dudgeon, P., Milroy, H., & Walker, R. (2014).Working together: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health and wellbeing principles and practice. Pat.

Foster, C. (2006). What nurses should know when working in Aboriginal communities. Canadian nurse, 102(4).

McBain‐Rigg, K. E., & Veitch, C. (2011). Cultural barriers to health care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in Mount Isa. Australian Journal of Rural Health, 19(2), 70-74

Reading, C. L., & Wien, F. (2009). Health inequalities and the social determinants of Aboriginal peoples’ health. Prince George, BC: National Collaborating Centre for Aboriginal Health.

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