Transformative effects of Aboriginal health placements for medical, nursing, and allied health students: A systematic review

Helena Mcdonald, Jennifer Browne, Julia Perruzza, Ruby Svarc, Corinne Davis, Karen Adams, Claire Palermo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of the present systematic review was to investigate whether placements in Aboriginal health affect the self-perceived skill in working in Aboriginal health settings and career aspirations of health students, and in particular, aspects of the placement that had the greatest impact. The Embase, Cinahl, ProQuest, Scopus, Informit, Ovid MEDLINE, PsychINFO, and PubMed databases were searched in April/May 2016. Placements of at least 1week duration in an Aboriginal health setting involving Australian students of medical, nursing, dentistry, or allied health disciplines, with outcomes relating to changes in students' knowledge, attitudes, and/or career aspirations, were included. The search retrieved 1351 papers. Fourteen studies were eligible for inclusion in this review. Narrative synthesis found that work placements in Aboriginal health increased understanding and awareness of Aboriginal culture, promoted deeper understanding of Aboriginal health determinant complexity, increased awareness of everyday racism toward Aboriginal Australians, and enhanced desire to work in Aboriginal health. There is a need for improved teaching and learning scholarship to understand whether placements improve students' skill working with Aboriginal people in health care or increase the likelihood of future employment in these settings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)154-164
Number of pages11
JournalNursing and Health Sciences
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2018


  • Australia
  • Clinical placement
  • Health professional
  • Indigenous
  • Work-based learning

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