Clinician Perspectives of Communication with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders Managing Pain: Needs and Preferences

Christina M. Bernardes, Stuart Ekberg, Stephen Birch, Renata F.I. Meuter, Andrew Claus, Matthew Bryant, Jermaine Isua, Paul Gray, Joseph P. Kluver, Daniel Williamson, Corey Jones, Kushla Houkamau, Marayah Taylor, Eva Malacova, Ivan Lin, Gregory Pratt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Poor communication is an important factor contributing to health disparity. This study sought to investigate clinicians’ perspectives about communicating with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients with pain. This multi-site and mixed-methods study involved clinicians from three pain management services in Queensland, Australia. Clinicians completed a survey and participated in focus groups. Clinicians rated the importance of communication training, their knowledge, abil-ity, and confidence in communicating with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients using a 5-point Likert scale. Rating scores were combined into low (scores 1–2); moderate (score 3) and high (scores 4–5). Informed by an interpretive description methodology, thematic analysis of focus group data was used to identify the communication needs and training preferences of clinicians. Overall (N = 64), 88% of clinicians rated the importance of communication training when supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients as “high”. In contrast, far fewer clinicians rated as “high” their knowledge (28%), ability (25%) and confidence (28%) in effectively communicating with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients. Thematic analysis identified three areas of need: knowledge of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, health beliefs, and understanding cross-cultural cues. Communication skills can be learned and training, in the form of a tailored intervention to support quality engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients, should combine cultural and communication aspects with biomedical knowledge.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1572
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume19
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2022

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