Students benefit from undertaking placements where they provide care for culturally diverse groups. These placements allow students to:

  • reflect on their own biases/white privilege and how these biases may affect the care they deliver.
  • become ‘culturally responsive’ by developing their cultural competence and understanding of cultural safety.
  • develop their awareness of cross-cultural interactions, effective communication and relationship building.
  • increase their understanding of holistic, client-centred health and inter-professional practice.
  • develop high level consultation and collaborative planning skills (and therefore ‘listening’ skills) as well as an understanding of community-based services.

Supervisors of students and service providers can also benefit from offering placements in these contexts, as students can provide additional services that would not have been otherwise provided. These might include additional direct client care, the development of resources and reviewing the literature to support client care or to progress quality improvement projects.


Please Note: References remain valid until superseded by later research. The resources referenced here are regularly reviewed and are considered current and relevant to the topics presented.

  • Davidson, B., Hill, A., and Nelson, A. (2013) Responding to the World Report on Disability in Australia: Lessons from collaboration in an urban Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander school. International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 15(1), 69-74.
  • Mazel, O, and Anderson, I. (2011). Advancing Indigenous health through medical education. Focus on Health Professional Education: A Multi-disciplinary Journal, 13(1), 1-12.
  • Nelson, A. (2007). Seeing white: a critical exploration of occupational therapy with Indigenous Australian people. Occupational Therapy International, 14(4), 237–255.
  • Nelson, A. and Iwama, M. (2010). Cultural Influences and Occupation-centred Practice with Children and Families. In Rodger, S. (Ed.), Occupation-centred practice with children: A practical guide for occupational therapists (pp.75-93). Oxford, UK: Wiley-Blackwell. 
  • Nelson, A., Shannon, C., and Carson, A. (2013) Developing health student placements in partnerships with urban Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Controlled Health Services. Lime Good Practice Case Studies, Volume 2, 29-34.
  • Thomson, K. (2013)  Students’ Stories. Speech Pathology Paediatric Indigenous Network Newsletter – Issue 9, September 2013.
  • Whitford, D., Taylor, J., and Thomas, K. (2013). Working in Indigenous health settings. In K. Stagnitti, A. Schoo, & D. Welch (Eds.), Clinical and fieldwork placements in the health professions (2nd ed) (pp. 329-347). Melbourne, Victoria: Oxford University Press.


Was the information on this page helpful?