How to become a Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander Health Worker

Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander health workers provide clinical and primary health care for individuals, families and community groups. They deal with patients, clients and visitors to hospitals and health clinics, and assist with arranging, coordinating and providing health care in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community health clinics. Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander health workers may choose to specialise in particular health areas such as optical, hearing, women’s health or infant care.

Personal requirements of a Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander Health Worker

  • Good communication and negotiation skills
  • Good organisational skills
  • Cultural awareness and sensitivity
  • Able to work independently and as part of a team

Education & Training for a Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander Health Worker

To become an Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander health worker you usually have to complete a VET qualification in Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander primary health care or Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander primary health care practice. As subjects and prerequisites can vary between institutions, you should contact your chosen institution for further information. You can also become an Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander health worker through a traineeship in Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Primary Health Care or Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Primary Health Care Practice. Entry requirements may vary, but employers generally require Year 10. For more details, see Section 2. Ask your career adviser about the possibility of starting some of this training in school.

Duties & Tasks of a Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander Health Worker

Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander health workers may perform the following tasks:

  • treat diseases or injuries
  • maintain health records and statistics
  • act as a communicator and/or interpreter on behalf of clients and other health workers
  • take part in case management and follow-up, independently or with other healthcare providers
  • provide health education to individual clients and health staff
  • provide cultural education to people outside the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community
  • provide life skills education to the community they serve
  • provide counselling and referrals for problem cases
  • contribute to the planning, development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of all health programs in the community
  • carry out administrative duties, including budgeting and correspondence.

Working conditions for a Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander Health Worker

Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander health workers may work in remote communities or metropolitan areas. They may be required to work shifts or travel long distances to visit remote communities.

Employment Opportunities for a Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander Health Worker

Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander health workers are employed in hospitals, health clinics and other health services in metropolitan and rural areas. They work in teams with doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals. With experience, and sometimes further training, Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander health workers may take on management responsibilities.

Specialisations:


Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander Hospital Liaison

An aboriginal/torres strait islander hospital liaison provides support and assistance to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients and families in hospitals and other healthcare facilities to help them feel comfortable and safe during their treatment. They help patients communicate with healthcare professionals, government agencies and other staff while they are in hospital.

Additional Information
Applicants must be of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent. In order to use the title Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health practitioner, Aboriginal health practitioner or Torres Strait Islander health practitioner, you need to register with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practice Board of Australia. Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander health workers who are not required by their employer to use one of these titles do not need to register with the board. Visit their website for more details.
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