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Keywords:

  • workforce;
  • mentoring;
  • Aboriginal Health Worker

Abstract

Objective: Effective partnerships between Aboriginal Health Workers and non-Aboriginal health professionals are essential to achieve Aboriginal health outcomes. This study aimed to evaluate a mentoring workforce development strategy for Aboriginal Health Workers and non-Aboriginal allied health professionals.

Methods: Thirty-four Aboriginal Health Workers and non-Aboriginal health professionals were recruited to the mentoring program where they were paired and established a learning relationship for approximately six months. A qualitative evaluation with thirty of the participants was undertaken involving in-depth interviews at the completion of the program.

Results: A total of 18 mentoring partnerships were formed across Victoria. The data revealed three key themes in relation to the evaluation of the program: (1) The mentoring program facilitated two-way learning, (2) The Aboriginal Health Workers and non-Aboriginal health professional participants reported being able to meet their identified learning needs through the partnership, (3) The capacity to improve practice was facilitated through readiness to learn and change practice and personal attributes of the participants, as well as organisation and management support.

Conclusions: Peer mentoring between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal health workforce was found to be a powerful mechanism to promote two-way learning that has the capacity to meet learning needs and promote practice improvement.

Implications: Peer mentoring may be part of a multi-strategy approach to the development of the Aboriginal health workforce.