Clinical yarning education: development and pilot evaluation of an education program to improve clinical communication in Aboriginal health care - participant, and health manager perspectives

Ivan Lin, Wanda Flanagan, Charmaine Green, Anne Lowell, Juli Coffin, Dawn Bessarab

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Effective communication between health care clinicians and Aboriginal patients is critical to delivering high quality, accessible, culturally secure health care. Despite this, ineffective communication is a well-documented barrier, and few studies have reported interventions to improve communication. Clinical Yarning is a patient centred communication framework for Aboriginal health care. Building on this framework, this study reports the development and evaluation of a Clinical Yarning education program.

METHODS: A Clinical Yarning education program was developed, underpinned by the principles of cultural security and adult learning, informed by a behavioural skills approach. The program was delivered in five health/education settings in one rural Western Australian region. Mixed-methods evaluation included a retrospective pre/post questionnaire to ascertain changes in participants' knowledge, confidence, competence and their perceptions about communication in Aboriginal health care, and the program. Qualitative semi-structured interviews were undertaken with health service managers who oversaw each health care setting and who had not participated in the education program, to explore perceptions about the program and implementation considerations.

RESULTS: Twenty-eight health care clinicians and six students completed training and the evaluation survey. There were significant improvements in self-rated communication skills, ability, confidence, knowledge, and perceived importance of communication training from pre to post-program. Participants strongly recommended the program to others, and most commonly valued the simulation/interactive learning activities. Health service managers acknowledged the limitations in most existing cultural training, and felt Clinical Yarning addressed a need; both the concept of Clinical Yarning and the education program provided were valued. Considerations identified for future implementation included: building multilevel partnerships within health services, offering alternate training options such as eLearning or train-the-trainer approaches, and integrating into existing development programs. Workforce transiency and availability were a barrier, particularly in remote areas.

CONCLUSIONS: This study offers preliminary support for the Clinical Yarning education program and provides a foundation for further development of this training approach. A future priority is implementation research to investigate the impact of the Clinical Yarning education program on health care and patient outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number908
JournalBMC Medical Education
Volume23
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023

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