This resource is part of a series of online 'Working Well' resources designed to assist GP Registrars and other health professionals working in Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHSs).
You will hear stories and perspectives from a range of people with experience of working in Aboriginal Health in one way or another. We hope this will help you in finding your feet as you contemplate working in ACCHSs in the future.
The resource can be used on your own, in a small group or with a Supervisor. Find out more information about how to use this resource or just click the 'Start' button to begin.
See the full list of Working Well resources.
I'd say to them, you know, go into it with a very open mind, be receptive, but also understand too that the kind of respect, I suppose, that might be afforded you as a Registrar in another sort of health service or practice, will be completely different to that of an Aboriginal health organisation.
Here it’s actually a much flatter sort of structure, it’s not quite so hierarchical and certainly Aboriginal health services absolutely value and put front and centre the Aboriginal Health Practitioners.
It’s actually the collective knowledge and experience of those skills that will provide the best possible health service and the best outcomes for our clients.
If you want to know something, ask an Aboriginal staff (member), particularly when you are working in an Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service it’s a really important thing to do.
If you want to know about a particular client, or client’s history or their family history, try and find out about what sort of behaviours may or may not be acceptable to Aboriginal people. That’s a really important thing.
If you’ve never really worked with Aboriginal Health Workers before or Aboriginal people or in an Aboriginal Health Service, you may not be aware of the social or cultural conventions, if you like.
Most important advice that I would give any GP Registrar starting is to listen and learn. Regardless of any environment you’re in - listen and learn.
Get to know the community, so they get to know who you are. That’s a really big thing. If you feel like you can learn from them, they’ll also feel that they can learn from you, in the health advice that you give, in the things that you’re talking about.
Perception is a big thing I think within a number of communities and families, and first observations play a critical role with how they’re going to perceive you over time as well.
I think that it’s important to get to know your patients, get to know who you’re looking after because I think a trust factor is very critical in the work that you do with us as patients and as community members.
And I think it’s important being a new person, not to be too vocal in the sense of 'Oh so this is what it’s like out in a rural community' and 'How come this person's not coming in, you know, when they need to' and so forth. That sort of perception in a small community is not, not good. And you’ve got to remember, small communities, like small towns, word can spread about what people's perceptions are of you. I think it’s important to listen and learn.