3121MED: Critical Reflective Essay Assessment and Framework

November 15, 2017
Author : Alex

Solution Code: 1FGA

Question: Reflective Essay Assessment

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Reflective Essay Assessment

Case Scenario/ Task

Part A Create a concept map that identifies the key themes of one capability that has impacted on you in the First Peoples Health and Practice course (3121MED). Write a reflection describing how and why this capability has had an impact on you.

Part B Write a critical reflective essay on the concept map completed in Part A using the Critical Reflection Framework (Walker, Schultz & Sonn, 2014) provided in the 'assessment resource' folder.

This framework will assist you to address the following:

1. Define and discuss the capability and its key themes.

2. Reflect on how your own culture (life experiences and worldview) and your professional culture, influences your understanding of the capability. Further reflect on how this influences your perceptions of and interactions with Australia's First Peoples in health care.

3. Analyse the viewpoints and assumptions of others and the dominant cultural paradigm relating to the capability and how this influences your perceptions of and interactions with Australia's First Peoples in health care.

4. Discuss what you have learnt from this reflective process and how this might contribute to your lifelong learning within your discipline.

5. Reflect on what you have learnt from undertaking this Critical Reflection Process including the potential this process has to transform your practice within your discipline.

Critical reflection of an experience, situation or performance allows for deeper learning, insight and conscious decision making to improve and transform professional practice (Walker, Schultz & Sonn, 2014). Critical reflection is identified in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Curriculum Framework as an important process to lifelong learning (Department of Health, 2014).

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Part A


Part - B


The original inhabitants of Australia have been working within situations of alternative conflict and ameliorative measures for decades. There is the ongoing conflict of the survival of their ancient traditions and heritage of cultural practices on the one hand and the need to be assimilated into the mainstream of Australian life on the other. There are a number of ways in which the governments of the time have attempted to help the aborigine join the waves of progress that have been sweeping across the Australian continent in terms of education, health and social welfare benefits for all its citizens. Somehow in the move to access these benefits the aborigines have been finding themselves at loggerheads with the authorities in some manner or the other over the years. This is probably because of the vast differences in the understanding and perception of situations among both the aborigines as well as the people in authority who are trying to implement these changes (Parker, & Milroy, 2014).

Many a times these differences in mind set have resulted in the breakout of violent altercations that have left indelible scars on the psyche of the survivors. The objective of the government has always been to help the marginalized population to avail itself of the benefits of progress yet the intentions have somehow belied the actions because a feeling of alienation managed to creep in fostering distrust and suspicion all around.  Thus, the overall objective of development aside, the programs and how they were offered to the subject population as well as the approaches used by the people delivery the health care packages mattered much more to the aborigines than what was really being offered (Australian Nursing Journal, 2013).

The overall understanding after a number of approached on the subject was that the aborigines along with their cultural ways should have been considered holistically before even planning any interventions. Once the general ethos had been totally understood only then should have there been any move to plan and finally implement any form of intervention. In fact even at the time of the implementation there should have been large dissemination meetings to assure the larger population of the intent and purpose of the intervention before going in and imposing certain foreign concepts onto the unsuspecting and confused population.

The Cultural Ethos

The aborigines had full ownership over Australian lands till the first wave of settlers came in. History is evidence thereafter that the aborigines were swept further and further into the Outback. They braved the hostile natural environment and survived but they were unable to cope for very long against the continued strife and struggle they were subjected to at the hands of their fellow human beings. They went from virtual slavery to abject poverty but always fell back on the ways of their ancestors rather than lose their identity altogether (Dudgeon, et al, 2014).

The aborigine had their own perceptions regarding health and state of ill health. Many a times there may not be anything wrong with the individual but they would continually complain of being unhappy with their lot. They would be melancholy and constantly complain that they were out of sorts, did not feel good or were unwell (Walker, Schultz, & Sonn, 2014). While the modern doctor may not be able to find anything physically or mentally or even psychologically wrong with the person, the shaman would constantly pay attention and after hearing their self analysis would delivery some long winded description of why the person was ill. Thus, the person would go away euphoric that they had been given a patient hearing and had been able to get a cure for their ills (Dudgeon, et al, 2014).. Most of such ills would be put down to the consequences of having come under the evil eye or having been spelled against. Aborigine believe has it that if a story has been told about somebody there has to be a logically happy ending to the story and if the story has not been completed and is still waiting to be completed then it can prove fatal for the main character. They may come to a sad end if the story is not completed happily.

Such beliefs form the substance of the aborigine ethos in Australia. Their belief systems have been very strong and have held them together as a cohesive unit for ages. Many of them have been transmitted by word of mouth from generation to generation. Even today the aborigines have word of the best and most effective shamans and where in the Outback they can be found. Many of the modernized aborigines still fall back on their traditional ways to maintain their image of themselves as well as their ties with their rich cultural heritage (Dudgeon, et al, 2014).

The Changed Ways

There is a need to understand the viewpoint of the government here that they are concerned with the well being of each and every citizen of the state. It is unacceptable that while the larger majority have the ability to enjoy the benefits of basic necessities like education and healthcare for their infants and children as well as nursing mothers, a small proportion are marginalized merely because they are little understood. This also probably because they may have lesser ability to access such benefits (Chamberlain, et al, 2015). They may not have been terms of awareness generation on the topic. They may also not have the adequate information to access these benefits for themselves? Or even that they are so entrenched in their own belief systems that they have little or no time to pay heed to the instructions being given about the government efforts.

Over the years there was a development of mistrust in the implementation of certain methodologies. Education was seen to be a detrimental impact that took the aborigine away from their own beliefs. The health care delivery system was perceived as a mechanism to deteriorate the health of the aborigine and decimate them. These suspicions, however, were easily allayed when the government efforts were put across in a manner that was easily comprehended by the subject population (Walker, Schultz, & Sonn, 2014).

Thus, it was a matter of changing the approach and the methodology before obtaining the desired result. This change, nevertheless, involved giant steps. The medical and para-medical staff had to be oriented towards the aborigine and they had to be thoroughly trained on the cultural and ritual practices of the indigenous people before giving them the benefits of the modern systems of cure. Thus, while taking care of the health of the indigenous people was an essential objective, it was equally necessary to impart to the aborigine the information regarding how best they could take care of epidemics and large break outs of disease with the help of modern medicinal system (Parker, & Milroy, 2014). Once the aborigine perceived no threat to their intrinsic culture from these externally imposed forces of change they would easily and gradually adapt themselves to the requirements of the changed scenario with regards to the curative systems to be adopted and utilized in the long term.

Development and Progress

The discovery of newer drugs and treatment procedures in the light of the advancements made in technology are tremendous. Yet taking the benefits of these to the aborigine is a mammoth task. The very great gap between the understandings of the tremendous advancement in the world of medicine on the one hand at the nature rooted age old ways of the aborigine defies definition. While the health care delivery systems have gone beyond inoculations for chicken pox to finding cures for cancer and a number of formidable diseases, the shaman or the medicine man of the aborigines is still deeply involved in chants that would invoke the spirits to provide health to the individual. While there is no gainsaying the benefits of one system of cure over the other but it is the endeavor of the health care delivery system doyens to carry the flag of their curative system to the people who need it the most when they need it the most (Taylor, Kickett, & Jones, 2014). To be able to give their optimum in the case of the health care delivery system they have to constantly devise approaches and methods of delivering their packaged products in a manner that is acceptable to both the ends namely the aborigine population as well as those in the seat of power who bear the collective responsibility for the entire population of Australia (Parker, & Milroy, 2014).

The Australian governments stipulated procedures on primary, secondary and tertiary health care are well defined. They are prescribed in varying degrees at different levels of the car receivers and they are specially planned for the aborigines. Special training is imparted to the care givers who have been given the responsibility of catering to the needs of these indigenous populations because of their specific needs in terms of cultural and socio-religious practices. It is a simple matter of perception (Rosenstock, et al, 2013). The aborigine holds the soul as the singularly most important part of the anatomy of the individual while the entire gamut of the modern health care delivery system has no room for the soul. There are no curative measures dealing with it. For the aborigine, however, the ‘loss of soul’ is a big deal. Many of the health care delivery personnel are amazed when they are confronted with queries pertaining to the soul and its well-being (Taylor, Kickett, & Jones, 2014).

Therefore the government saw it is an essential step that its outreach worker teams be given specialized training on the approach to be used and the attitude to be adopted while dealing with the indigenous populations. It is easy to imagine that there would be little or negligible maintenance of inter-personnel dialogue if the two parties did not understand a word of what was being said nor implied (Rosenstock, et al, 2013).

The establishment of trust and then the constant struggle to maintain is an ongoing battle for the health care delivery system personnel when dealing with the indigenous people. While the one system is static the other is dynamic and often there is bound to be conflict in bringing the two together. To foster better understanding and to promote a feeling of mutual trust the modern curative systems would need to constantly upgrade their approaches to suit the needs of the beneficiary population (Rosenstock et al, 2013). Many a times there have been open rejections of some practices but this has only been so long as there was confusion regarding the approach. For example the injection was a means of delivery medication to the physiological system according to the modern systems of cure. Yet, for the traditional or indigenous systems of cure the needle was perceived to be a means of drawing the soul out of the body. Similar was the perception of surgical procedures where the indigenous people thought that their soul was being compromised while the diseased part for the anatomy was being incised.

The realm of childbirth is another such area of contention. There are a number of rituals that attend the birth of a child in the aborigine community. But there are a number of restrictions imposed in the institutionalized birth as dictated by the modern systems of medicine that are beyond the comprehension of the aborigines. This is the main area of contention. Yet when both systems of cure are focused on the well-being of the newborn then it is easier to come to a consensus regarding what does and what does not comprise the essential childbirth practice in a given care giving system of health (Taylor, Kickett, & Jones, 2014).


The resilience of the aborigine against the onslaught of the waves of modernity is admirable. Also the ability of the government to understand and absorb the immediate needs of the indigenous people is admirable. It is the gradual rubbing away of the lines of resistance due to the sustained government efforts that is truly the work of dedication and sincerity on the part of the government and those who have taken on the task of imparting the best of benefits to their aborigine brethren.

When the motivation is equal on both ends then there is little chance of failing in the efforts to bring health care delivery effectively to the very doorstep of the aborigine. The latter too have to work on their acceptance levels to be able to help themselves access the greatest benefits of the Australian government’s efforts towards them. Thus, a continuum of intentions, efforts, beliefs and trust is required to be able to bring about a changed paradigm in the aborigine and health care delivery personnel’s collective mind set.

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