Insights into indigenous cultural capability journeys for physiotherapy students: Navigation, socialisation and reframing the meaning of success

Research output: Other contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Aim: to explore physiotherapy student perspectives on learning experiences which influenced the development of their cultural capability. Design: Cross sectional online survey Method: A process of literature review, analysis of existing surveys to build a question bank, and consultation with Indigenous colleagues and physiotherapy students informed the development of a pilot online survey to gain initial insights into students’ perception of their cultural capability. Qualitative data was interpreted using the constant comparative method, to reach consensus on emergent themes. Research was approved by Charles Sturt University Human Research Ethics Committee. Results: Themes were clustered around ‘navigating the learning journey for and with students’. Key insights included: scaffolding to support the process of change; socialisation into a health professional identity; and reframing the historical meaning of ‘academic success’ in an Indigenous Cultural Capability curriculum to consider contemporary measures consistent with a competence continuum as described in the “Physiotherapy practice thresholds in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand”. Conclusion: It is important to highlight the role of teaching staff in navigating the students’ cultural capability journey and to realize that students arrive with unique lived experiences that inform this journey. There may be great variability in what the threshold competence “prioritise cultural safety and cultural respect” looks like for each individual graduate. Key Practice Points: • Cultural capability curriculum is complex because both student and teacher are embedded in their own cultural context. • Understanding student journeys enables insights into how a strengths-based, holistic and scaffolded curriculum can be designed to support cultural capability development. Proposed impact, if any, on the health outcomes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander people: Physiotherapy graduates who demonstrate cultural humility have the potential to improve health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people through the delivery of quality, culturally competent, accessible physiotherapy services.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2019
EventAustralian Physiotherapy Association Transform 2019 Physiotherapy Conference - Adelaide Convention Centre, Adelaide, Australia
Duration: 17 Oct 201919 Oct 2019


ConferenceAustralian Physiotherapy Association Transform 2019 Physiotherapy Conference
Abbreviated titleA little knowledge can transform the profession.
Internet address


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