Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders are the persons of previous origin or are the descent of aboriginal or Torres strait that has been accepted by community in which he/she lives. These indigenous Australian suffers from racism including interpersonal, institutional which sustains and affect their socioeconomic status (Markwick Ansari, Clinch, & McNeil, 2019). Sometimes, lead to the exclusion from economic opportunities, land ownership, and health benefits. However, this is one of the most persistent aspects of current world with a discourse of racism in society.

Explain the social determinant (eg Racism) and how this is a barrier for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (approximately 200 words).

Social determinant are social, economic, and health factors which influence community negatively where people born, grow, live and age. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders being inferior in society faces a higher rate of racism and social discrimination. These discrimination cause past colonisation cultural context, denigration, poverty, trauma, inherited grief and cultural role lacking and status (Markwick Ansari, Clinch, & McNeil, 2019).

The racism faced by these people hinders their health, social support, education, and employment. It also reduces their self-esteem, self-efficacy, and cultural identify. This leads to social marginalisation, normalisation of pre-mature death, limited education opportunities, and entrenched trauma among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders (Valesi, Wood, Dimer, & Zada, 2018). Moreover, the community are much likely to encompass poor health, a shorter life expectation and also experience shoddier outcomes across their lifespan as compared to non-indigenous Australians.

In terms of health, this racism creates a barrier for healthcare services in relation to prevention, participation, treatment and rehabilitation. Thus, exposed to various such as cardiovascular, diabetes, mental issues, and other chronic lifestyle (Valesi, Wood, Dimer, & Zada, 2018).Some of the determinants results in barrier development in relation to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders development includes early childhood development; housing and infrastructure development; misrepresentation of government policies, law and justice; employment and income; and various health benefits.

Explain the role your chosen Change leader (eg Adam Goodes), has played in addressing this social determinant, and therefore improving health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (approximately 200 words).

Shirley Colleen Smith (Mumshirl) was an Aboriginal woman born in West Cowre, New South Wales, in 1924. She was intensely involved in Aborginal people life and work. Her activities include active community worker, social worker, political activist, and Aboriginal Australian welfare. She addresses the social determinate faced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and helped them to overcome the problems faced by them.

She visited jail to see Aboriginal prisoners many times for their wellbeing. Shehas raised approximately 60 foster children, and thus was nicknamed as Mumshirl. She has learnt 16 different Aboriginal languages and has become an influential social worker. In 1970, Mumshirl with another people, has created a guiding force with the group of young Aboriginal men and women, this force is develop to participate in campaign for land rights with Gurindji people (NAIDOC WEEK 2018 Tribute).

Moreover, in 1971, she helped to establish legal services, Aboriginal black theatre, medical services, Aboriginal Children services, Aboriginal housing company, Aboriginal tent embassy, and detoxification centre (Heffernan, 2020). These services have helped Aboriginal and Torres Strait people to build immense feelings and to break their barriers. This creates positivity among them with the feeling of self-esteem, self-respect and social acceptance.

Discuss three ways you as a Registered Nurse/Midwife plan to provide culturally safe care to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients that you care for (approximately 200 words).

Three different ways to plan culturally safe care to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients are as follows:

  • Friendly relationship with patient

As a registered nurse, implementation of health programs and preventive services should be done. I would spend a little time with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients so as to build a rapport among them. This can be achieved through initial contact, proper communication with them; honesty, patient-centric approach, and development of trust among them. These strategies help to built as a friend relation and a sense of trustworthiness among patient, which further help to treat patient effectively (Aborginal and Torres Strait islander patient care, 2014). Moreover, clinical yarning in terms of social yarn, diagnostic yarn, and management yarn should also be implemented which build nd open-ended communication with Aborginal and Torres Strait islander patient (Lin, Green, & Bessarab, 20116)

  • Building support network

Building support network with various teams allow the better and in-time care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. The teams include health care providers, liaison officers, Aboriginal maternal infant care, and family members. These teams will help registered nurse in providing culturally appropriate are to patients (Browne, 2016).

  • Access to health care services

Easy access of health care services must be implemented in respect to indigenous Australian’s culture perspective. The services are related with the availability of system-preventive health services, primary healthcare hospital and specialist services (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2019).

From the above discussion, we can conclude that social determinant faced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community results in social backwardness, and health problems. The racism creates lack of self-esteem, self-trust, and self-respect among the community. However, there are many leaders which actively involve them self into social wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander. One of the prominent leaders was Shirley Colleen Smith, who has founded many services and upgraded the status of indigenous people in Australia. Furthermore, it is the duty and responsibility of registered nurse and practitioner to adopt various strategies and provide proper health care to the indigenous community.


Aborginal and Torres Strait islander patient care. (2014). State of Queensland (Queensland Health). 

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2019). 

Brown, A. E., Middelton, P. H., Fereday, J. A., and Pincombe, J. I. (2016). Cultural safety and midwifery care for Aboriginal women – A phenomenological study. Science Direct, 29, 196-202.

Brown, A. O.Shear, R. L., Mott, K., Mc Bridge, K. F., Lawson, T., & Jennings, G. L. (2015). Essential service standards for equitable nation cardiovascular care for Aborginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Heart, Lung, Circulation, 24, 126-141.

Heffernan, E. (2020). Shirley Coleen Smith (1921-1998). Royal Australian Historical Society. https://www.rahs.org.au/shirley-coleen-smith-1921-1998/

Lin, I., Green, C., & Bessarab, D.(2016), ‘Yarn with me’: applying clinical yarning to improve clinician-patient communication in Aborginal health care. Australian journal of Primary Health, 22, 377-382.

Markwick, A., Ansari, Z., Clinch, D., & McNeil, J. (2019). Experiences of racism among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults living in the Australian state of Victoria: a cross-sectional population-based study. BMC Public Health, 19, 1-14.

MumShirl (1921-1998). (n.d.). Retreived form https://trove.nla.gov.au/people/783718?c=people

NAIDOC WEEK 2018 Tribute (2018).. The national authority in Aboriginal primary health care-Aboriginal health in Aboriginal hands. Retrieved from https://nacchocommunique.com/2018/07/09/naccho-aboriginal-health-saveadate-features-naidocweek-becauseofherwecan-mum-shirl-and-naccho-women-leadership-tributes-wiyi-yani-u-thangani-womens-voices-nacchoagm2018-registrations/

Vallesi, S., Wood, L., Dimer, L., & Zada, M. (2018).“In their own voice” – incorporating underlying social determinnats into Aboriginal health promotion programs. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 15, 2-15.

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