Moreover, quality healthcare for indigenous patients need to be responsive to cultural differences and the effects of the racism. Recognition of these impacts on the environment and communication and applying the knowledge to practice is part of demonstrating culturally clear standards of care. Sometimes, the Aboriginal people experience a disproportionate bulk of illness and social challenges compared to non-indigenous Australians. Due to the imbalance of power and health status, Indigenous Australian patients need to be treated differently than non-aboriginal patients. This paper will highlight the influences culture has on Australian Indigenous people. It will also reveal the understanding of these cultural groups on life process. Similarly, the paper gives the definition of health and illness according to the cultural groups.  Also, there are efforts made by the Australian Aborigines to maintain wellness. The causes of diseases according to the cultural groups, cure, and care for this community, as well as the influence of the cultural background of the nurses in the service delivery to the patients, are also discussed. 

Causes of illness

At the most fundamental level, people in the Australian Aborigines recognize three main categories of the causes of illness: natural, human and supernatural. In many communities, the origin of the disease involves a mixture of human and supernatural agencies. Sickness in the Aboriginal culture is often perceived as stemming, in part, from exposure to metaphysical forces, alienation from homeland or some personal deficiency such as neglect of ceremonial duty, or disobedience to customary rule. In these societies, ill health is based majorly on a belief that it is a natural physical cause, as a result of sorcery or harm caused by ancestral spirits.  

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How cultural groups understand life processes

The Australian Aboriginal cultural groups view the life process as a composition of the physical, emotional, social, spiritual, and cultural well-being of the individual and the whole community. In this regard, health is traditionally a holistic concept for the aboriginal people. The perception is a whole-of-life view that includes the outlook of life to death. Many people from these cultural diversities still retain this belief system; however, the traditional customs and principles have been challenged and influenced by many factors such as Christianity since the colonial period. According to Harrowing, Mill, 5Spiers, Kulig, & Kipp, the aspect of Aboriginal ethnicity must be considered in the patient’s clinical care to ensure their holistic health and individual needs are met. Since each patient has his beliefs and personal wants, there is the need to consider additional approaches on the patient. Conversely, health care staff needs to know that urban, rural, and remote and discrete Aboriginal communities have conflicting needs. The differences extend to certain cultural practices and beliefs between clans, kinship, family obligations, and responsibilities that tend to be more important than personal health needs. These factors often contribute to the patients discharging themselves against medical advice with obvious detrimental impact on their health.  Nevertheless, communication difficulties as a result of language differences, lower health literacy, and cultural differences commonly affect the improvement of health outcomes for Aboriginal people.

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Definition of health and illness according to cultural groups

The concept of health and illness is significant to every person. Health and illness does not have an effect on the feelings of people but also their functioning as well as participation in activities involving the community. As a result, being healthy is not only a matter of physical wellbeing, but also the cultural, social and emotional wellbeing of the entire community. This examination of health takes a whole of life approach and can include the cyclical concept of life-death-life. While health services are delivered to individuals, the dominant objective of the Indigenous society controlled health zone is ameliorating diseases within the Aboriginal community bearing in mind that the health of these people is gauged by the condition of the whole society. Illness, on the other hand, is outlined as a state of being physical, emotionally or mentally challenged with conditions that are believed to be blamed on sorcery, breaches of religious sanctions and social rules of behavior, intrusions of spirit and disease objects, or loss of soul.

What cultural groups do to maintain wellness

Nutrition is an important aspect of health and wellness. A healthy diet in Aboriginal Australians is that which entails fruits and fresh vegetables, foods with low salt and fat, lean meats, whole grains, and daily products that are low in fat. Currently, many Australian Indigenous people still comply with the traditional medicine, food, and remedies and seek advice from the traditional healers. Furthermore, they make connections with the traditional homelands and seas as they believe that these customs are central to positive well-being and healing. As health remedies, the Australian Aborigines also depend on the traditional herbs for treatment of existing diseases. In this manner, plants feature prominently in Aboriginal remedies are primarily utilized to control the symptoms of fever, congestion, headache, skin sores, tired or swollen aching limbs and digestive problems. Cure of these diseases can involve drinks, washes, massages and aromatherapies. The drinks are prepared by heating water with plant additives. Similarly, washes are made by boiling plants with the cooled liquid. Besides, some plants are heated then massaged into swollen parts of the patient’s body.

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Cure and care for members of the cultural groups

The evidence illustrates that indigenous-specific-primary health care agencies are an important part of a diversified health system. According to Williamson & Harrison, the Australian Aboriginal culture provides important sites for the training of indigenous health professionals in cross-cultural skills. Even so, training is an important way for the indigenous health nurses to learn about their Aboriginal clients cultures and lived experiences. Any training helps the staff to understand the non-existence of a single indigenous identity or experience particularly in the urban setting. Therefore, the Aboriginal people are treated individuals. In the same context, the cure and care is developed through health promotion programs in conjunction with members of the indigenous communities. These communities ensure that health promotion materials and relevant programs that can situate biomedical information in culturally appropriate forms are protected.

As previously discussed, it is imperative to build rapport before proceeding with the medical examination. Therefore, culturally respectful communication is a requirement to determine accurately the patient's medical history and their understanding of health conditions. Essentially, the cultural groups recommend that while discussing and explaining a diagnosis with a patient, the medical officer should use a jargon-free language to provide further explanation of the potential causes of illness. In this case, visual aids like diagrams models and film clips are useful. Before treatment, the health doctors are usually advised to be mindful of the patient’s cultural or other customs. For that reason, the doctors ensure that they discuss options for treatment with the patient because some patients reflect on the impact the medication may bring to the family and the society. In this instance, the patients may fear that the kinship relationship and the community responsibilities and obligations may proceed over their health. 

How cultural background of the nurse influence care delivery

Cultural and social background of nurses engrosses structures such as race, religion, language, education, ethnicity, and economic status which are the major influences on peoples’ health and wellbeing. Australia is culturally diverse. According to Phiri, Dietsch, & Bonner, health care is mostly delivered in rural, remote areas, community health centers, homes, and in some acute settings within or outside hospitals in urban locations. Therefore, nurses who reside in the mentioned localities can improve the care and cure of patients.  Besides, these medical professionals have the knowledge and experience in the above places  hence; they tend to understand the clients better based on the environment. As a result, the nurses develop a consciousness of the benefits and challenges of diversity that promotes harmony, veneration, justice and benefits for all, with the aim of promoting the delivery of the nursing care to diverse population in culturally meaningful and safe ways. Consequently, these backgrounds can create an incentive for nurses to pursue transcultural nursing knowledge through research and to understand the implications of culture specific knowledge for improving nursing practice. 


To recap, culture of Australian Aborigines basically explains the knowledge, values and norms of the concerned societies. It is worthy to note that several factors such as sorcery, intrusions of ancestral spirits, breaches of religious sanctions, disobedience to customary laws and neglect of ceremonial responsibilities causes sickness. In Aboriginal Australian, the traditions for maintaining health draw upon cultural beliefs and the powers of their remedies. The causes of serious illness were generally attributed to supernatural sources. There are measures like training of the health professionals and admission of herbal medicine that are used to cure and improve the life of the patients. In addition, the Indigenous cultural groups understand the process of life as the progression of physical, emotional, social, spiritual and cultural interests of the inhabitants. To maintain the wellness of the patients, it is important to develop good communication with the patients and carry out medical examination. Ideally, the concept of health and illness is vital in the Australian Indigenous because they both contribute towards the understanding of the culture. Moreover, the cultural background of the nurses impact positively towards the care of the patients in different locations. From the piece, it is clear that the culture and care of the patient are connected to provide better service to the clients.


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