Implementing Optimal Care Pathways for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People With Cancer: A Survey of Rural Health Professionals’ Self-Rated Learning Needs

Eli Ristevski, Teralynn Ludwick, Michael James Leach, Sharyn Thompson, Mahesh Iddawela, Michelle Pryce, Elaine Wood, Kerry Davidson, Joanne Gell

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3 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: In 2018, the Optimal Care Pathway (OCP) for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with cancer was developed in Australia to improve the cancer care experiences and outcomes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Methods: Our study examined health professionals’ learning needs to meet the clinical practice requirements of the new OCP. An electronic questionnaire was distributed to 120 health professionals providing oncology care in two rural areas in Victoria, Australia. Questions included demographics, practice, cancer OCPs and implementation recommendations. Descriptive, chi-square and thematic analyses were undertaken. Results: Fifty-two health professionals from medicine (21%), nursing (37%) and allied health (37%) responded. All OCP sub-categories were selected, with a mean of 23 sub-categories identified as areas requiring additional learning. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Perspectives, Treatment, and End of Life were the categories of higher interest. Care After Initial Treatment and Recovery was the category of lower interest. For respondents without cultural training, sub-categories involving practical tasks were of significant interest. Cultural education, connecting with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander services, putting learning into practice and respect emerged as themes. Conclusion: Strategies to address gaps included cultural safety training, person and family centred practice, and partnerships and connections with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and organisations across primary and tertiary sectors.

Original languageEnglish
Article number27
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Integrated Care
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 30 Mar 2022


  • Integrated care
  • Optimal care pathways
  • Cancer
  • Clinician
  • Cultural safety
  • Aboriginal
  • Torres Strait Islander

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