University of Technology Sydney

92456 Contemporary Indigenous Health and Wellbeing

Warning: The information on this page is indicative. The subject outline for a particular session, location and mode of offering is the authoritative source of all information about the subject for that offering. Required texts, recommended texts and references in particular are likely to change. Students will be provided with a subject outline once they enrol in the subject.

Subject handbook information prior to 2021 is available in the Archives.

UTS: Health
Credit points: 6 cp

Subject level:


Result type: Grade and marks

There are course requisites for this subject. See access conditions.


Nurses have a major role to play in improving the health of Australian Indigenous people. To be effective however, nurses require both clinical skills and cultural respect. This subject focuses on improving students' knowledge of Indigenous people in order to foster respect and understanding. Exploring their own attitudes, beliefs and understandings contributes to students being able to deliver evidence-based care in a culturally respectful way. This subject emphasises exploring Indigenous perspectives of Australian history and the ongoing effects of colonisation for Indigenous people nationally and internationally; intergenerational loss and trauma; acknowledging Indigenous people as experts in their own health; comprehending the social and cultural implications of engaging with the health care system for Indigenous people; and fostering humility in safe, appreciative, collaborative spaces.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

Upon successful completion of this subject students should be able to:
A. Discuss how colonisation has influenced and impacted upon Indigenous people both in Australia and internationally (RN Standards for Practice 1).
B. Examine and apply the concept of cultural respect to enable appropriate healthcare for Indigenous peoples health care now and into the future (RN Standards for Practice 2 and 4).
C. Appreciate the meaning of health and illness for Indigenous people including developing respect for alternative spiritual beliefs and health practices (RN Standards for Practice 1 and 2).
D. Discuss the legal, ethical, social and cultural issues that arise in the nursing care of Indigenous peoples’ across the life span (RN Standards for Practice 1 and 2).
E. Describe and critically reflect on the roles of Indigenous health workers and Aboriginal Liaison Officers in the context of the wider health care system (RN Standards for Practice 3).
F. Undertake independent research to locate health statistics of Indigenous people and relate these findings to the ongoing effects of colonisation (RN Standards for Practice 1).

Course intended learning outcomes (CILOs)

This subject also contributes specifically to the following graduate attributes:

  • Embody a professional disposition committed to excellence, equity and sustainability (1.0)
  • Engage in person-centred care that is appropriately sensitive to the needs of individuals, families and communities (2.0)
  • Practise person-centred, holistic care in which all aspects of the patient's wellbeing are considered (2.1)
  • Communicate and collaborate effectively and respectfully with diverse groups (3.0)
  • Inquire critically to assess a body of evidence to inform practice (4.0)
  • Demonstrate professional cultural competency which contributes to the health and wellbeing of Indigenous Australians, inclusive of physical, social, emotional and spiritual wellness (6.0)
  • Critically reflect upon the impact of ongoing colonisation and its pervasive discourse on Indigenous Australians and their health and wellbeing (6.2)

Teaching and learning strategies

In this subject, you will participate in a range of teaching and learning strategies that are designed to encourage you to engage with the nursing care of Indigenous people.

Lectures and Online Learning Materials
This subject benefits from access to online resources including, podcasts, and videos. Delivering the lecture material as podcasts means that it is available at all hours of the day throughout a teaching session allowing students to access it at a time that suits them as well as being able to revise material when necessary. The use of podcasts allows authentic Indigenous voices and stories to be shared with students. Also, students can alter the pace of delivery, allowing for pauses for reflection or independent research.

In this subject, Tutorials are referred to as Yarning circles. Attendance whether face-to-face or online is critical to your learning. As such you are expected to both attend and actively participate in all yarning circles.

Yarning Circles
Yarning circles give students the opportunity to consolidate their knowledge and understandings of the material delivered in the podcasts and engage in collaborative activities to increase understanding and cultural respect. In groups, students will provide summaries of discussions they have had in their groups to the class. Students will receive feedback from peers and teachers.

Case Scenarios
Cases are used to help students explore health-related scenarios. Cases depict Indigenous people and their families in clinical or community situations. Students use these scenarios to learn concepts, interpret information, form clinical judgements, and develop creative solutions. Critical thinking is developed through analysis, interpretation of, and reflection on issues or situations.

Communication Skills Development
Teaching and learning strategies incorporate the development of professional communication skills for all students. This involves developing culturally safe communication required to provide safe and respectful nursing care to Indigenous people.

Academic Writing
Demonstrating information literacy and technology skills, students search and synthesise the professional literature to respond to assessment requirements. Students will comply with academic writing practices and use information ethically, legally, and respectfully.

Content (topics)

Content will include: A revision of the concept of cultural safety in the context of professional competencies; Appropriate terminology; Colonisation and its ongoing impact upon the Australian population; Complexity of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patient experience; Self-reflection on own role in contributing to Indigenous health; Distinct health challenges faced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples; Legal, social and ethical issues affecting contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples; Contributing to the cultural safety of mainstream health institutions.


Assessment task 1: Brief reflection


This assessment enables an individual reflection on student's own knowledge and/or understanding of the meaning "Black Lives matter" in relation to Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.


This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):


This assessment task contributes to the development of graduate attribute(s):


Weight: 20%

600 words


Comprehensive marking criteria for each assessment are available under Assessments in UTSOnline.

Assessment task 2: Online Quizzes


To enhance students’ capacity for cultural awareness and perspective taking.


This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):

B, C, D and E

This assessment task contributes to the development of graduate attribute(s):

2.0, 3.0 and 6.0

Weight: 30%

Thirty (30) Questions per quiz, a total of Two (2) quizzes.

Assessment task 3: Analysis and Discussion


To explore the impact of transgenerational trauma in relation to "Black Lives Matter" relating to the ‘Closing the Gap’ policy on Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander People’s health outcomes.


This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):

A, C, D, E and F

This assessment task contributes to the development of graduate attribute(s):

1.0, 2.0, 2.1, 4.0, 6.0 and 6.2

Weight: 50%

1500 word essay


Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2018, Indigenous Australians, viewed 11th July, 2018,

Best, O. & Frederiks, B. (eds). (2014). Yatdjuligin: Aboriginal and Torres Start Islander Nursing and Midwifery Care, Cambridge University press, Melbourne.

Couzos, S. & Murray, R. (2008). Aboriginal Primary Health care: An Evidence-based Approach, 3rd edn, Oxford University, South Melbourne.

Dragon, N. & Anderson, K. (2011). Indigenous Health, Australian Nursing Journal, vol. 19, no 2, 24 – 28.

Health Workforce Australia. (2014) Developing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural capabilities in entry to practice health graduates: A review of the literature,

Hinkson, M. (2010) Aboriginal Sydney: A guide to important places of the past and present, 2nd edn, Aboriginal Studies Press, Sydney.

Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (2016), Registered nurse standards for practice, viewed 5th July 2018, Registered nurse standards for practice

Sherwood, J. (2013). 'Colonisation - it's bad for your health: The context of Aboriginal health', Contemporary Nurse, vol. 46, no. 1, pp. 28-40.

Taylor, K., Kickett, M. & Jones, S. (2014) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Curriculum Project: Findings from preliminary consultation process. Undertaken for Health Workforce Australia as part of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Curriculum Framework Project . Adelaide, South Australia.

Taylor, K. & Guerin, P. (2014). Health Care and Indigenous Australians: Cultural safety in practice, (2nd edn), Palgrave Macmillan, Malaysia

Taylor, S., Foster, M. & Fleming, J. (2008). Health Care Practice in Australia: Policy, Context and Innovations, Oxford University Press, South Melbourne.

Other resources

UTS Student Centre
Building 10
Monday to Friday: 9am - 5pm
Tel: 1300 ASK UTS (1300 275 887)

Details for student centres:
For other resources/information refer to the Faculty of Health website ( and UTSOnline at:

UTS Library
The Library has a wide range of resources, facilities and services to support you including textbooks, subject readings, health literature databases, workshops and bookable study rooms. There is also a team of librarians to help you with your questions available via online chat, phone and in person. W:, Facebook: utslibrary, Twitter: @utslibrary Tel: (02) 9514 3666.

Improve your academic and English language skills
Marks for all assessment tasks such as assignments and examinations are given not only for what you write but also for how you write. If you would like the opportunity to improve your academic and English language skills, make an appointment with the HELPS (Higher Education Language & Presentation Support) Service in Student Services.

HELPS (Higher Education Language & Presentation Support)
HELPS provides assistance with English language proficiency and academic language. Students who need to develop their written and/or spoken English should make use of the free services offered by HELPS, including academic language workshops, vacation intensive courses, drop-in consultations, individual appointments and Conversations@UTS ( HELPS staff are also available for drop-in consultations at the UTS Library. Phone (02) 9514 9733

Please see for additional information on other resources provided to students by UTS.