According to the Australian Aboriginal people, Baiame is the creator god who plays an important role in streamlining their religious belief and value system. Notably, the ethnic group strongly believes in the concept of dreaming where there is no foreseeable ending. The commencement of the dreaming aspect ushers individuals into a special period where they are exposed to a well-coordinated process of executing beliefs into actions (Hiscock, 2020). The process, which is called totemism, describes best the relationship between human beings and spirits. While the man is associated with the human aspect of existence, the mythic beings manifest the spirit world that can be invoked on demand to solve various problems.
In Aboriginal cosmology, Dreaming plays an important role in defining the different beliefs and values that shape perspectives in the contemporary world. Younger generations are introduced to the mythic process where they are exposed to different scenarios that shaped their perspectives towards life. Understanding the ancestral origin creates an opportunity to ensure the maintenance of originality across different generations.
There are certain aspects of cultural and religious beliefs that can be linked with the nursing interventions embraced by the Australian aboriginals. However, ethnic approaches are often ignored when people from the ethnic group are seeking treatment for various illnesses.
Healing Beliefs and Practices
Pain and Suffering
Australian aboriginal healers view pain and suffering as a hindrance that affects the connection between the body and emotions. The healers mostly use their hands to remove pain from the affected body parts and identify any blockages that interfere with the blood flow. A strong spirituality enables the ethnic group to overcome pain and suffering that interferes with their quality of life.
The Role of Cultural Healers
Cultural healers play an important role in the ethnic group that reconnects the sickly to their spirituality. It should be noted that healers view the spirit as an essential component of existence that connects the body to the cultural belief system and the lifeblood, which defines their existence (McKivett, Paul, & Hudson, 20189). Unlike the modern approaches towards medicine, the healers utilize a traditional approach that focuses on strengthening the spiritual identity of individuals.
Special Practices around Death and Dying
This ethnic group believes that individuals retain their human identity after death, a move that influences the practices adopted during the burial process. The Australian Aboriginal population bury their loved ones in two stages. The body is left on an elevated surface for a specific period before painting their bones with a red substance and burying the remains.
How Nurses can use this information
While modern medicinal approaches differ significantly from the traditional healing methods, nursing practitioners can incorporate certain aspects of spirituality to achieve an inclusive outcome that improves the patient experience.
Family Life Processes
The Australian aboriginal culture thrives on a collectivist system that distributes critical roles to both men and women. Unlike other ethnic groups that lean towards patriarchy and matriarchy, the aboriginal culture compels individuals to align with the societal beliefs and values. The kinship system expects men to provide for their families while women are in charge of the household roles.
Role of Elders
Elders in Australian Aboriginal culture were responsible for maintaining community relations with other population groups. In the same vein, the aged population was mostly consulted for knowledge on different beliefs and practices that are critical in the ethnic group. Besides, they safeguard the Aboriginal identity and demonstrate approaches that can be used to take care of the young population.
Even though some Australian Aboriginals have access to modern treatment approaches, health inequity remains a prevalent problem in the developed country. The underlying issue is the difficulties such as limited information, social isolation, and distance, encountered by the families of Aboriginal patients during their hospitalization process.
Proactive Nursing Approaches
Nurses should maintain an open mind during their interactions with Aboriginal patients to create an enabling environment that expedites their recovery. The communication between the physicians and their immediate Aboriginal family should focus on addressing the underlying medical issue and the best approach that recognizes their cultural perspectives towards healing.
The Aboriginal people were keen on maintaining healthy relationships amongst themselves. When conflicts arose, individuals were urged to distance themselves and settle in other areas where they could maintain healthy interactions. Interpersonal relationships are mostly emphasized in the Australian Aboriginal setting.
Communication using Verbal and Non-Verbal Cues
The message stick is a graphic communication approach that was commonly used among the Australian Aboriginal people to exchange information and share intended messages amongst themselves. Hand communication forms an important aspect of interaction because of its interpretation that conveys and emphasizes the important message during public and private engagements.
Interactions with other Communities
When engaging other people and especially in the health environment, Australian Aboriginal people should avoid using complex verbal and non-verbal cues to promote understanding, which enhances the quality of interactions. Face to face communication allows one to draw inferences from the nonverbal cues and make conclusive remarks that respond to their different issues.
Communication Approaches that Nurses Should use
Nurses should engage interpreters during their interactions with the Aboriginal people. They should apply sensitivity in their language use and avoid speaking loudly in a demeaning manner that undermines the personality of the patients from the ethnic group (Borg et al., 2018). Besides, using audio and video communication may overcome the language barriers that affect the communication experience.
Significance of Food
Since the ethnic group was displaced from their ancestral lands, their access to clean and healthy food products has become limited. Instead, the population group can only access western-style foods, which are mostly unhealthy compared to their traditional food products. Surprisingly, the healthy food types are expensive, a move that hinders them from accessing the food products because of their low-income status. In this regard, cheap and processed foods are prevalent among the Aboriginal people because of their inability to access employment opportunities and move to areas where the cost of living is low.
Initially, the Aboriginal people consumed healthy food products such as fruits, nuts, and vegetables. However, the displacement from their ancestral lands caused by urbanization exposed them to different scenarios that hindered them from accessing the healthy lifestyle (Gwynn, Sim, Searle, Senior, Lee, & Brimblecombe, 2019). Inflation due to mining increased the cost of living, exposing the modern Aboriginal people to unhealthy and processed food products that are cheaper than the healthy options.
How RNs can Encourage Healthy Eating
Nurses can develop nutrition programs that demonstrate the dangers associated with processed food products is important to reduce the poor eating habits among the Aboriginal people. Besides, the government should empower the ethnic group to expose them to healthy food options that distract them from the processed food products.
Borg, K., Sutton, K., Beasley, M., Tull, F., Faulkner, N., Halliday, J., … & Bragge, P. (2018). Communication-based interventions for increasing influenza vaccination rates among Aboriginal children: a randomised controlled trial. Vaccine, 36(45), 6790-6795.
Gwynn, J., Sim, K., Searle, T., Senior, A., Lee, A., & Brimblecombe, J. (2019). Effect of nutrition interventions on diet-related and health outcomes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians: a systematic review. BMJ open, 9(4), e025291.
Hiscock, P. (2020). Mysticism and reality in Aboriginal myth: evolution and dynamism in Australian Aboriginal religion. Religion, Brain & Behavior, 10(3), 321-344.
McKivett, A., Paul, D., & Hudson, N. (2019). Healing conversations: Developing a practical framework for clinical communication between Aboriginal communities and healthcare practitioners. Journal of immigrant and minority health, 21(3), 596-605.
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