University of Technology Sydney

93212 Indigenous Health and Well-Being

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
B. Examine and apply the concept of cultural respect to enable appropriate healthcare for Indigenous people's health care now and into the future
C. Appreciate the meaning of health and illness for Indigenous people including developing respect for alternative spiritual beliefs and health practices
D. Discuss the legal, ethical, social and cultural issues that arise in the nursing care of Indigenous peoples’ across the life span
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
F. Describe and critically reflect on the roles of Indigenous health workers and Aboriginal Liaison Officers in the context of the wider health care system

Teaching and learning strategies

Each 6-unit subject requires at least 140 hours of work (including face-to-face and self-directed learning activities) to successfully complete academic requirements.

In this subject, you will participate in a range of teaching and learning strategies.

Lectures and online learning materials
This subject benefits from both the real time delivery of content and access to online resources including podcasts, videos and learning modules. Students are provided with the resources to complete approximately 60-90 minutes of preparatory work to enable engagement during face-to-face tutorials. Online lectures will enable students to quickly clarify complex descriptions and terminology, and engage with nursing leaders who are experts in their field.

Students will be supported and guided by a tutor and also work in pairs and groups to unpack the tutorial content using patient stories and clinical scenarios. In class content is structured to contribute to the required assessment tasks.

Students will be provided feedback from their tutor and peers with the opportunity to collaborate and develop interpersonal, communication and reflective skills.

Content (topics)

  • 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: Reflection


Students will reflect on their own knowledge and/or experience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ culture.

Weight: 10%

1500 words

Assessment task 2: Essay


Students will write an essay on the impact of the “closing the gap “ policy on Aboriginal and torres Strait Islander Peoples’ Health outcomes.

Weight: 50%

2000 words

Assessment task 3: Guided reflection


Students to develop a guided reflection to enhance their capacity for cultural awareness and perspective taking.

Weight: 40%