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Indigenous Health Workforce: exploring how roles impact experiences in Higher Education

Stephen David Corporal, Naomi Sunderland, Patrick O'Leary, Tasha Riley

Abstract: Indigenous people have an integral role to play in improving Indigenous health outcomes by leading and being a part of the health workforce. Educating Indigenous health professionals is hence of great importance. Indigenous health students are not always acknowledged for their multiple professional and community roles and how these can affect their university education experience and success. This paper hence examines the experiences of 27 Indigenous health students and their lecturers at one Australian university around the concept of roles. The study used an Indigenous Research Methodology combined with theory driven thematic analysis. Results identified both positive and negative experiences of roles that significantly affect Indigenous health students. The study showed that students’ roles in family and community are complex and can come into conflict with student and future professional roles when students attend university. Academics interviewed for the research showed little to no understanding of Indigenous students’ complex existing roles. This research may assist universities and educators to support Indigenous health students to transition from community to university and achieve success.
Keywords: Workforce / Indigenous health students / roles / university / complex / success

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