Across mainstream Australia few would know, understand or recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers and Health Practitioners as standalone professions. Yet, within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australia, this workforce is renowned as a vital and reliable community resource critical to the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Evidence directly connects their roles to improved health across the life course.
Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Health Workers and Health Practitioners work with communities, families, and individuals of all ages. They work autonomously and in teams with other health professionals, including medical doctors, registered nurses and midwives, dentists, psychologists, allied health professionals; and with policy makers, educators and researchers.
They provide a range of health services depending upon the work setting and individual scope of practice. These may include, but are not limited to:
~ clinical services such as:
- assessment and screening of physical health and social emotional wellbeing
- health promotion for risk factors (e.g. tobacco, healthy eating)
- providing health care in line with care plans and/or treatment protocols
- supporting clients in self-management, including the safe use of traditional and Western medications
~ planning, delivering and evaluating population health programs
~ advocating for clients, including interpreting and translating language
~ providing advice, support and training on providing culturally-safe health services to other health professionals, policy makers, researchers and educators
~ management activities, such as:
- staff supervision and mentoring
- business and financial management
- quality improvement
~ education and training of Health Workers and other health professionals.
For more information on what Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Health Workers and Health Practitioners do, NATSIHWA has produced a brochure titled: 'Who We Are and What We Do'. To read this brochure please