Increased numbers of Australian Indigenous nurses would make a significant contribution to 'closing the gap' in Indigenous health: What is getting in the way?

Abstract

The provision of a well trained and culturally safe health workforce is critical to the alleviation of health inequities for Australian Indigenous peoples. Educating and graduating significant numbers of Indigenous registered nurses is one way the 'Close the Gap' initiative succeeds.

Indigenous nurses bring a set of unique skills, knowledge and understanding to health service delivery. Their contribution has the potential to enhance future outcomes for Indigenous people by improving access to health services, ensure services are culturally appropriate and respectful, and assist non-Indigenous nurses to deliver culturally appropriate care.

This paper discusses the background to the current numbers of Indigenous undergraduate nursing students enrolled in and completing tertiary nursing courses, with a focus on Queensland nursing programs. A range of identified barriers impede Indigenous nursing students' successful completion of their studies. We propose recommendations for education, research and employment to help overcome these problems, and ensure greater Indigenous participation in the nursing workforce.

Authors

Roianne West
Townsville Hospital and Health Service, Townsville, QLD; School of Nursing and Midwifery, Griffith University, Brisbane, QLD Roianne West is a proud descendant of the Kalkadoon People from far North West Queensland

Kim Usher
School of Nursing, Midwifery and Nutrition, James Cook University, Cairns QLD

Kim Foster
Mental Health Nursing, Sydney Nursing School, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW

References

Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2005). Australian social trends (No. 4102.0). Retrieved March 25, 2010, from http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.NSF/94713ad445ff1425ca25682000192af2/8a87ef112b5bcf8bca25703b0080ccd9!OpenDocument

Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2008). Maps and census profiles, Australian indigenous geographical classification 2006. Canberra: Author.

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2006, November 23). Indigenous Australians - Health. Retrieved March 19, 2010, from http://www.aihw.gov.au/indigenous/health/index.cfm

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2008). The health of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples 2008. Canberra: Author.

Australian Vice-Chancellors' Committee. (2002). Forward from the crossroads: Pathways to effective and diverse Australian Universities. The AVCC submission to the Higher Education Review. Canberra: Author. Retrieved from http://www.avcc.edu.au

Denzin, N. K., & Lincoln, Y. S. (2008). Introduction: Critical methodologies and indigenous inquiry. In N. K. Denzin, Y. S. Lincoln, & L. T. Smith (Eds.), Handbook of critical and indigenous methodologies (pp. 1-20). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations. (2009). University Statistics Section, Reference No. 09-109. Canberra: Author.

Department of Education, Science and Training. (2002). Achieving equitable and appropriate outcomes: Indigenous Australians in higher education. Retrieved from http://www.backingaustraliasfuture.gov.au/publications/achieving_equitable_outcomes/achieving_equitable.pdf

Department of Education, Science and Training. (2004). National report to parliament on indigenous education and training 2004. Retrieved from http://www.dest.gov.au/sectors/indigenous_education/publications_resources/profiles/national_report_indigenous_education_and_training_2004.htm

Goold, S. (1995). Why are there so few Aboriginal registered nurses? In J. Gray & R. Pratt (Eds.), Issues in Australian nursing (pp. 235-252). Sydney: Churchill Livingston.

Goold, S., & Usher, K. (2006). Meeting the health needs of Indigenous people: How is nursing education meeting the challenge? Contemporary Nurse, 22(2), 288-295. http://www.contemporarynurse.com/archives/vol/22/issue/2/article/746/meeting-the-health-needs-of-indigenous-people

Hunter, B., & Schwab, R. (1998). The determinants of Indigenous educational outcomes. Discussion paper No. 160, Canberra: Australian National University.

Hunter, B., & Schwab, R. (2003a). Practical reconciliation and recent trends in indigenous education, Paper no. 249/2003. Canberra: Australian National University Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research.

Hunter, B., & Schwab, R. (2003b). Practical reconciliation and continuing disadvantage in Indigenous education: The drawing board. An Australian Review of Public Affairs, 42, 83-98.

Indigenous Higher Education Advisory Council. (2006). Improving indigenous outcomes and enhancing indigenous culture and knowledge in Australian higher education. Canberra: Author.

Indigenous Nursing Education Working Group. (2002). Gettin em n keepin em, Report to the Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing. Canberra: Office for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health.

Institute of Koori Education. (n.d.). Why indigenous education programs cannot succeed without a critically reflective teaching practice. Institute of Koori Education, Deakin University, 4(4), 19-22. Retrieved March 5, 2010, from http://www.aeuvic.asn.au/professional/files/4PVKoorieEd.pdf

Kincheloe, J. L., & Steinberg, S. R. (2008). Indigenous knowledges in education: Complexities, dangers, and profound benefits. In N. K. Denzin, Y. S. Lincoln, & L. T. Smith (Eds.), Handbook of critical and indigenous methodologies (pp. 135-156). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Miller, M., Spring, L., Goold, S., Turale, S., & Usher, K. (2005). Dadirri: A nursing guide to improving indigenous health. Report from the Indigenous Nursing Education Working Group. Canberra: Office of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health.

Nakata, M., Nakata, V., & Chin, M. (2008). Approaches to the academic support of Australian indigenous students for tertiary studies. Australian Journal of Indigenous Education, 37(Suppl.), 137-145.

National Review of Nursing Education. (2001). National review of nursing education discussion paper. Canberra: Author.

Omeri, A., & Ahern, M. (1999). Utilising culturally congruent strategies to enhance recruitment and retention of Australian Indigenous nursing students. Journal of Transcultural Nursing, 10(2), 150-155.

Peiris, D., Brown, A., & Cass, A. (2008). Commentary: Addressing inequities in access to quality health care for Indigenous people. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 179(10), 985-986.

Productivity Commission. (2006). Australia's health workforce. Final Report, Canberra, Australia. Retrieved February 22, 2008, from http://www.pc.gov.au/study/healthworkforce/finalreport/index.html

Rigney, L.-I. (1999). The first perspective: Culturally safe research practices on or with Indigenous peoples. 1999 Chacmool Conference Proceedings University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Internationalisation of an Indigenous anti-colonial cultural critique of research methodologies: A guide to Indigenist research methodology and its principles. Higher Education Research and Development in Higher Education, 20, 629-636.

Ring, I., & Brown, N. (2002). Indigenous health: Chronically inadequate responses to damning statistics. BMJ, 177(11), 629-631.

Ring, I., & Brown, N. (2003). The health status of Indigenous peoples and others. BMJ, 327(7412), 404-405.

Schwab, R., & Anderson, I. (1999). Trends in indigenous participation in health sciences education: The vocational education and training sector, 1994-1999, Discussion paper No. 179/1999. Canberra: Australian National University.

Senate Inquiry into Nursing. (2002). Report on the inquiry into nursing - The patient profession: Time for action. Canberra: Author. Retrieved from http://www.aph.gov.au/senate/committee/clac_ctte/completed_inquiries/2002-04/nursing/report/

Shadow Report. (2010, February). Shadow report on the Australian government's progress towards closing the gap in life expectancy between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians. A close the gap steering committee for Indigenous health equality report. Retrieved March 19, 2010, from http://www.oxfam.org.au/resources/filestore/originals/OAus-CloseTheGapShadowReport-0210.pdf

Sonn, C., Bishop, B., & Humphries, R. (2000). Encounters with the dominant culture: Voices of indigenous students in mainstream higher education. Australian Psychologist, 35, 128-135.

Stewart, L. (2009a, April). Record number at graduation ceremony, e-newsletter, issue 6, University of Southern Queensland Alumni and Advancement. Retrieved March 5, 2010, from http://www.usq.edu.au/alumni/enewsletter/issue6/indnurs.htm

Stewart, L. (2009b). Record number of indigenous students enrol in nursing, media release, University of Southern Queensland News and Events. Retrieved March 5, 2010, from http://www.usq.edu.au/newsevents/news/2009/indigenousnusringstudents

Stewart, L. (2009c). Indigenous nursing completion rate highest in the nation, media release, University of Southern Queensland News and Events. Retrieved March 5, 2010, from http://www.usq.edu.au/newsevents/news/indigenousnursing

The Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission. (1997). Bringing them home. Report of the national inquiry into the separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families. Sydney: Author.

Thinknursing. (2008). Audiovisual clip. Retrieved from http://www.thinknursing.com/nursingmidwifery/indigenous-nursing

Usher, K., Lindsay, D., & Mackay, W. (2005). An innovative nurse education program in the Torres Strait Islands. Nurse Education Today, 25, 437-441.

Usher, K., Lindsay, D., Miller, M., & Miller, A. (2005). The challenges faced by indigenous nursing students and the strategies that aided their progress in the course: A descriptive study. Contemporary Nurse, 19(1-2), 17-31. http://www.contemporarynurse.com/archives/vol/19/issue/1-2/article/2104/challenges-faced-by-indigenous-nursing-students

Usher, K., Mille, M., Turale, S., & Goold, S. (2005). Meeting the challenges of recruitment and retention of Indigenous people into nursing: Outcomes of the Indigenous Nurse Education Working Group. Collegian, 12(3), 27-31.

Usher, K., Miller, A., Lindsay, D., Miller, M., O'Connor, T., Turale, S., et al. (2003). Successful strategies for the retention of Indigenous students in nursing courses. Unpublished report to the Queensland Nursing Council Research Committee, School of Nursing Sciences, James Cook University, Townsville, Australia.

World Health Organization. (2006). World Health Report 2006. Geneva: Author.

Keywords

Indigenous nursing students; Indigenous nursing graduates; nursing workforce; Indigenous health; critical Indigenist pedagogy

Meta

PP: 121 - 130


RSS Facebook Twitter

Sign Me Up for latest release updates

*  Email Address:
    First Name:
    Last Name:
*  I am interested in:





 

Web Feed

Latest Articles

Special Issues

Advances in Chronic and Complex Care Nursing
Volume /


Advances in Aging and Palliation Nursing
Volume /


Advances in Contemporary Nurse Education (3rd edn)
Volume 49/1-2
Summary | Contents


Nursing Innovation and Reform in Health Care
Volume 48/2
Summary | Contents


Issues in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Care
Volume 46/1
Summary | Contents


Supporting a Strong and Resilient Contemporary Nursing Workforce
Volume 45/1
Summary | Contents


section on Health Care with Marginalised Populations
Volume 44/1
Summary | Contents


Advances in Contemporary Health Care for Vulnerable Populations
Volume 42/2
Summary | Contents


Advances in Contemporary Community & Family Health Care (3rd edn)
Volume 41/1
Contents


Advances in Contemporary Complex Health Care: Nursing Interventions
Volume 40/2
Summary | Contents


Advances in Contemporary Community and Family Health Care (2nd edn)
Volume 40/1
Summary | Contents


Advances in Contemporary Nurse Education (2nd edn)
Volume 38/1-2
Summary | Contents


crossref.org - The citation linking backbone



Website by Fig Creative Sunshine Coast Website Design