Expanding roles of Aboriginal health workers in the primary care setting: seeking recognition

Contemp Nurse. 2008 Feb;27(2):157-64. doi: 10.5555/conu.2008.27.2.157.


The work of Aboriginal health workers (AHWs) in the primary care setting is discussed, emphasising that partnership with non-Indigenous health providers such as nurses and general practitioners brings complementary skills together to improve the health care available to Aboriginal clients, and to decrease the cultural and communication barriers to delivering such health care. The diverse skills and responsibilities of AHWs, which include clinical, health promotion, education and leadership roles, are illustrated. The current focus on increasing AHW educational opportunities, and the need to recognise AHWs as core health professionals and equal members of the health care team is presented. The increasing recognition of the role of AHWs in providing cultural mentorship for non-Indigenous colleagues is discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Australia
  • Cooperative Behavior
  • Cultural Diversity
  • Humans
  • Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander*
  • Patient Care Team
  • Primary Health Care / organization & administration*
  • Professional Role*