Confronting uncomfortable truths: Receptivity and resistance to Aboriginal content in midwifery education
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Objectives: The emotional responses of students undertaking a new, compulsory unit on Indigenous cultures and health were investigated as part of a broader study looking at culturally secure practice in midwifery education and service provision for Aboriginal women. Methods: Classroom observations were conducted on a first year midwifery cohort from July to October 2012 and students completed ‘before and after’ questionnaires. Results: A spectrum of emotional responses was identified and found to be consistent with studies of medical student exposure to Aboriginal content. While stereotypes were challenged and perceptions altered as a result of the content, issues surrounding racism remained unresolved, with some students expressing dismay at the attitudes of their peers. Conclusion: This study confirmed the need for content on Aboriginal health and cultures to extend beyond one unit in a course. Learning and knowledge must be carefully integrated and developed to maximise understanding and ensure that unresolved issues are addressed.
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