In early November, Ms Devinia (Beanz) Binell, Dr Kali Hayward and Ms Angela Burden from the South Australian regional training organisation, GPEx, came to the Northern Territory for a cultural education and cultural mentoring exchange of ideas with NTGPE.
The week consisted of a variety of activities including participation in one of NTGPEs cultural orientation programs, going on cultural teaching visits (CTVs), a Larrakia bush walk and discussions about NTGPEs cultural education framework, cultural education workshops, practice accreditation and cultural safety, integrated Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health curriculum and other cultural education activities.
For Devinia, the Aboriginal Health Educator/Liaison Officer at GPEx, the purpose of the trip was to shadow the NTGPE cultural education team and see if any elements could be included into the GPEx cultural training program for GP registrars “I want to develop a stronger cultural mentoring role with a wider scope of orientation”.
Devinia was particularly interested in the CTVs where NTGPE cultural educators travel throughout the NT to observe a GP registrar during consultations with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients and offer feedback on their cross-cultural communication skills, the doctor-patient relationship, rapport building and other cross-cultural competencies.
Devinia was able to attend two CTVs with NTGPE cultural educators, one with Patricia (Nangala) Rankine, to Milikapiti Community Clinic on Melville Island observing GP registrar John Floridis in action and the other with Elisabeth Heenan to Warruwi Community Clinic on Goulburn Island observing GP registrar Sara Toonson.
Nangala said, “I believe cultural educator and cultural mentors need to know how other cultural educators and cultural mentors are in their workplace. It is important to be able to share knowledge and share what we experience in live consults, and the reactions we see with the patients”.
Devinia commented, “when I go back I’ll be talking with the Aboriginal health team at GPEx and looking at everything that has happened on the visit, and share my experiences of cultural teaching visits. We need to decide if this is something that we should use and if it is, should it be the same or adapted to our environment”
“What I found reassuring is that we are all on the same page. We hear about other cultural educators through presentations and discussions, but to actually experience it, and know we are on the same page is reassuring”, said Devinia.
Dr Kali Hayward, Aboriginal Medical Educator at GPEx believes trip’s like this are an important exchange of ideas. “Firstly, in Aboriginal health there is no one size fits all so sharing ideas and teaching methods and sitting down with other Aboriginal MEs is really beneficial.
I am the only Aboriginal medical educator at GPEx and its important to see what is being taught, to see the role of cultural educator and the space of cultural educator. It’s so important for Angela (director of medical operations at GPEx) to come and see how it works from a manager point of view”.