Orientation for general practice in remote Aboriginal communities: A program for registrars in the Northern Territory


Dr Simon Morgan, Northern Territory General Practice Education, PO Box u179, Northern Territory University, Darwin, Northern Territory 0815, Australia. Email: simonmorgan@sperrins.wanadoo.co.uk


Background: Remote general practice can be a highly rewarding career, but poses many personal and professional challenges. It is characterised by significant geographical, professional and social isolation and a requirement for practitioners with public health, emergency and extended clinical skills. The remote practitioner faces further challenges in the remote Aboriginal community setting, including language and cultural barriers.

Objectives:  This paper discusses the specific components of a remote Aboriginal community general practice registrar orientation program in the Northern Territory, and their particular importance and relevance to remote training and practice in this context.

Discussion:  Northern Territory General Practice Education, the regional general practice training provider in the Northern Territory, has developed a model for a comprehensive orientation program for general practice registrars planning to work in remote Aboriginal community locations. This comprises a number of core components, including communication and cultural safety training; clinical and procedural skill development; population health; self-care and personal/professional role delineation; and organisational issues. We believe it is a program that is applicable to other disciplines undertaking work in remote Aboriginal communities.