Exploring the impact of Aboriginal health placement experiences on the preparation of dietetic graduates for practice with Aboriginal communities Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • AIM:A health workforce with the ability to practice with Aboriginal communities is crucial to bridge the health gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians. This study aimed to explore the impact of university Aboriginal health placements on preparing dietetic graduates for practice with Aboriginal communities. METHODS:A mixed methods sequential explanatory design was used. A sample of 594 dietetic graduates was invited to complete a survey that identified Aboriginal health experiences and measured attitudes and self-confidence towards working in Aboriginal health using a five-point Likert scale. Participants were divided into placement versus no-placement groups and compared using chi-squared tests. Sixteen of 33 participants who had completed an Aboriginal health placement were invited to participate in a semi-structured interview to explore how placement influenced practice with Aboriginal communities. Interviews were analysed using content analysis. RESULTS:A final sample of 120 participants showed that placement participants reported significantly higher self-confidence towards working in Aboriginal health compared with no-placement participants (No-placement = 35% agree, 36% neutral, 29% disagree; Placement = 74% agree, 11% neutral, 16% disagree; χ2 (2, 88) = 9.4; P = 0.01). Fifteen participants were interviewed. Interview data indicated that situated learning experiences, breaking down stereotypes, empathy through learning from Aboriginal people, and Aboriginal health role-models were key components of Aboriginal health placements in preparing dietetic graduates for practice with Aboriginal communities. CONCLUSIONS:The results suggest that Aboriginal health placements may be an effective strategy for preparing dietetic graduates for practice with Aboriginal communities. The feasibility of placement or alternative curriculum content needs to be explored.

authors

  • Svarc, Ruby
  • Davis, Corinne
  • McDonald, Helena
  • Perruzza, Julia
  • Browne, Jennifer
  • Delbridge, Robyn
  • Morgan, Keith
  • O’Reilly, Sharleen
  • Margerison, Claire
  • Palermo, Claire

publication date

  • 2018