Cultural Mentoring for Students on Clinical Placement: A critical component of learning and practice

Mrs Kathryn Fitzgerald1, Ms  Carole Minney1, Ms Sarah-Jane  Dymond1

1WA Centre For Rural Health, Geraldton, Australia


Allied Health Students on placement at the WA Centre for Rural Health who complete all or part of their work integrated learning placements in Mt Magnet, Western Australia, complete a local program “Understanding Yamatji” and a Clinical Yarning workshop prior to commencing in Mt Magnet. Once in the community, they are supported by a local Aboriginal staff member who works as a cultural mentor alongside the clinical supervisors. This presentation will outline the role of the cultural mentor. The cultural mentoring program is based on the six key capabilities of the Indigenous Allied Health Australia’s Cultural Responsiveness Capability Framework and has the following aims for the students who participate;
• increased confidence in working with Aboriginal people within the students’ disciplines.
• integrating knowledge about cultural awareness to practice.
• appreciation of the diversity within Indigenous peoples and families and reflect on how this impacts on their practice.
• build on existing knowledge of Aboriginal culture in relation to individuals and groups they are working with.
• have an opportunity to practise yarning
• experience peer support and learn interprofessionally about each other’s disciplines in culturally responsive practice.
The guidelines and format for the cultural mentoring will be described, as well as an outline of how this program supports the students’ professional learning and the collaboration with the community.


Kathryn Fitzgerald has worked in rural and remote areas as an Allied Health professional in clinical practice, in policy and program development and in health professions’ education for over 30 years, and has been involved with SARRAH since the organisation’s early days. She currently works as the Clinical Education Manager for the WA Centre for Rural Health based in the Midwest of Western Australia.

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