Indigenous perspectives on the desired attributes of medical graduates practising in remote communities: a northwest Queensland pilot study

Woolley, Torres, Sivamalai, Sundram, Ross, Simone, Duffy, Glenda, and Miller, Adrian (2013) Indigenous perspectives on the desired attributes of medical graduates practising in remote communities: a northwest Queensland pilot study. Australian Journal of Rural Health, 21 (2). pp. 90-96.

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Abstract

Introduction Providing an emphasis on Indigenous health in medical undergraduate education is seen as a high priority by Australian medical organisations. A regional North Queensland medical school asked local Indigenous people to list personal attributes they want to see in graduate doctors who choose to practise in their remote community. Methods This 2011 pilot study used a participatory action research design, with 13 local Indigenous health professionals, elders and community members from Mount Isa participating as co-researchers in Yarning Circles' discussing desired medical graduate attributes. Medical school co-researchers inductively extracted themes from the discussions via a qualitative grounded theory' approach. Results Eight major subtopics were identified by the Mount Isa Indigenous community around desired skills, knowledge and attitudes for graduate doctors: provision of quality patient care; culturally appropriate communication; medical knowledge; culturally appropriate knowledge; knowing the local health system; a positive personality; a positive attitude to working with Indigenous peoples; and a desire to engage with the Indigenous community. Discussion Effective communications with Indigenous patients and working in remote Indigenous communities requires doctors to have appropriate clinical skills, medical knowledge, knowledge about how local health systems operate, familiarity with significant Indigenous health issues such as child safety and alcohol management, and positive attitudes to working with, learning about and providing an advocacy role for Indigenous peoples. Conclusions Findings have implications for enhancing the professional behaviours and engagement of James Cook University medical students in Indigenous communities while on rural placement and after graduation, and for Australian medical and health practitioners more broadly.

Item ID: 27452
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1440-1584
Keywords: curriculum development, Indigenous health, medical education, role of rural medical schools, student placement
Date Deposited: 05 Jun 2013 09:37
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111701 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health @ 100%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9203 Indigenous Health > 920303 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health - Health System Performance (incl. Effectiveness of Interventions) @ 100%
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