August 7 is Aboriginal Health Practitioner Day.
It’s an opportunity for us to acknowledge the important role that the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Worker and Health Practitioner workforce plays in delivering healthcare at CALHN and more broadly.
Aboriginal Healthcare Practitioners (AHPs) at CALHN provide clinical and culturally appropriate care to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients, including health screening, and clinical and cultural care.
Warwick, Trae, Lexa and Dylan are four members of CALHN’s AHP team.
“I believe having AHPs working within health plays a major role in ensuring that the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people coming through the emergency department have culturally safe treatment throughout their presentation,” Trae said. “We work not just with the patient, but with the whole family as well.”
“When we’ve got Aboriginal patients coming through, it’s important we’re able to be a familiar face, we’re able to interpret the admission, and then kind of filter through the concerns of the patient,” Lexa said. “It’s comforting for them to know we’re able to be a support for them, and that we have clinical knowledge.”
“I’ve really seen the benefits having an AHP present in a consultation can have, particularly with respect to the patient’s mental health,” said Dylan.
While the work is incredibly rewarding, Lexa said an important aspect of being an effective AHP is self-care.
“Our culture is based on strong cultural and spiritual connection, and so sometimes that means this job can be draining,” Lexa said. “We work together to look after our health, and rely on each other to check in and ensure we’re doing ok on a day-to-day basis.”
Culturally safe treatment
“As a young Aboriginal man, I have found it quite refreshing to have such supportive non-indigenous colleagues just as dedicated to the wellbeing of our vulnerable Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients both culturally and medically,” said Trae.
CALHN’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health and Wellbeing Hub employs:
- six Aboriginal health practitioners / Aboriginal health practitioner trainees
- a senior Aboriginal health practitioner
- an Aboriginal nurse consultant
The Renal program employs an Aboriginal health practitioner and a nurse consultant.
The Heart and Lung and Cancer programs each employ a nurse consultant.
The RAH emergency department also employees two Aboriginal health practitioner trainees.