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Clinical Yarning eLearning program to improve communication in Aboriginal health care

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Clinical Yarning eLearning program to improve communication in Aboriginal health care

18 August 2022:

The WA Centre of Rural Health of the University of Western Australia is proud to announce the launch of the Clinical Yarning eLearning program.

Effective communication between clinicians and patients is the foundation to high quality health care. Unfortunately, ineffective communication is common when there are cultural and language differences between clinicians and patients.

Clinical Yarning is a framework to assist clinicians improve the effectiveness of their communication in Aboriginal health care.

The framework looks to improve the quality and cultural security of care for Aboriginal patients and their families.

The Clinical Yarning eLearning program was developed as a resource to improve the effectiveness of communication of health care clinicians who work with Aboriginal patients, by using the Clinical Yarning model.

It is an online course available to health science students and health care providers.

The course is approximately 2 hours long, and you may start and stop your progress throughout the course at your own pace. You may pick up where you last left off.

By completing the survey at the end, it is possible to download a Course Completion Certificate.

It is recommended that the Clinical Yarning eLearning program is accompanied by face-to-face training involving the practising of communication skills.

The opportunity to practice, reflect, rehearse and repeat the skills, in a safe learning environment (e.g. simulation), is essential to improving communication with patients.

We would like to acknowledge our valuable partner organisations WA Country Health Service and WA Primary Health Alliance who contributed to the development of the eLearning program.

We would also like to acknowledge all those who collaborated in this project including Geraldton Regional Aboriginal Medical Service (GRAMS), South West Aboriginal Medical Service (SWAMS),

Derbarl Yerrigan Health Service Aboriginal Corporation, University partners, health practitioners and community members.

***Warning – Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are advised that this course may contain the names, images, stories and voices of people now passed and resting in the Dreaming.***

To log onto the Clinical Yarning eLearning program, go to the website – www.clinicalyarning.org.au.

For further information on Clinical Yarning, read the paper ‘Yarn with me’: applying clinical yarning to improve clinician–patient communication in Aboriginal health care’ here, or watch the introduction to ‘Clinical Yarning’ video here.


Mia Jeffrey, Marketing and Communications Officer – (08) 9956 0225 – Mia.Jeffrey@uwa.edu.au

About suicide among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

The suicide rate among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults is double that of other Australians, and among children is four times as high.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (2021):

  • Suicide accounts for 6% of all deaths among Indigenous people (vs 2% non-Indigenous).
  • Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for Indigenous males (vs 10th non-Indigenous). It is the 10th leading cause of death for Indigenous females (vs 23rd non-Indigenous).
  • One-third of all Indigenous child deaths (ages 5 to 17) are suicides.
  • 17% of all suicide deaths in Australian children (ages 5 to 17) are Indigenous children.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples embrace a holistic concept of mental and physical health within a broader context of social and emotional wellbeing (SEWB). This recognises the interconnectedness of physical and mental health with spiritual and cultural factors and connection to Country, community and traditions.

The lasting impacts of colonisation have resulted in intergenerational trauma and social and economic disadvantage at individual, family and community levels. This can result in multiple stressors such as unresolved grief and loss, trauma and abuse, domestic violence, removal from family, substance misuse, family breakdown, cultural dislocation, racism and discrimination, which challenge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s mental and physical health and wellbeing.

Trauma, grief and loss as well as alcohol and substance use are key factors in Indigenous suicide deaths. Healing programs and services to promote social and emotional wellbeing are essential components of a culturally safe Indigenous suicide prevention response.

About the WA Centre for Rural Health (WARCH)

The WA Centre for Rural Health of the University of Western Australia is one of 17 University Departments of Rural Health in Australia. The main office is based in Geraldton in the Midwest of Western Australia, with a satellite office based in Karratha in the Pilbara. It aims to improve rural, remote, and Aboriginal health through research, education, student support and community service activities. For more information, visit: www.wacrh.uwa.edu.au.

If you or someone you know needs help or support, you can contact your local Aboriginal Community-Controlled Organisation or

  • Lifeline: 131 114
  • Kids Helpline: 1800 551 800
  • Mensline: 1300 78 99 78
  • Beyondblue 1300 22 46 36
  • Q Life 1800 18 45 27
  • Open Arms Veterans & Families Counselling 1800 01 10 46
  • The National Indigenous Critical Response Service 1800 80 58 01
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