Resource Information

Year 2016
Author(s) Wolfe, N
Topic(s) Culture, Knowledge and Education | Graduates and Clinicians | History and Culture | Knowledge and Education | Medical Professionalism and Culture Safety | Social Determinants of Health | Teaching and Learning | Training Indigenous Health Practitioners |
Book/Journal Australian Medical Student Journal Online
Resource Type Journal Article
Link View this resource

Abstract

Modern health professionals are well versed in the value of person-centred care for their patients. However, the way we are taught to view our patients through a problem-based lens is counterintuitive to this person-centred approach. Medical professionals have learned to consider the diverse sociocultural contexts of patients as a “risk” to their overall wellbeing, rather than acknowledging the unique strengths of all individuals and communities. This focus entrenches assumptions into the way we approach patients of diverse backgrounds. These assumptions and the subsequent expectations that we hold of our patients have been evidenced to serve as powerful self-fulfilling prophecies for an individual’s overall health and wellbeing. Individuals will internalise negative health identities and have poorer health outcomes if health professionals hold low expectations of them based on their sociocultural “risks”. Strengths-based practice recognises resilience and focuses on the strengths, abilities, knowledge, and capacities of all individuals, rather than on their deficits, limits, or weaknesses. It provides a framework for health professionals to better support their patients in achieving their best health outcomes. A strengths-based approach has the ability to shift the broader deficits-based discourse that exists around the diverse sociocultural groups that exist in Australia. Changing this conversation is of immeasurable importance if we are to improve the health outcomes and agency of our patients and mitigate the persistent health inequities that exist within the Australian health system.