Table 2

Illustrative examples of cultural brokerage activities

FunctionTypes of activitiesIllustrative quotes
Cultural brokerageInterpretation
(two-way)
It’s very vital, especially for (A&TSIHW) to be present in an emergency situation in the A&E room because they can translate in language, and to the nurses and if there’s a doctor on here, and even just liaise for the community. (Cape York, Health Worker, #9)
Yeah, translate sometimes, especially with [remote community] people that come in because they only speak their language out there. (Torres and NPA, Health Worker, #37)
I said to the nurse navigator, you would need to get a family member to come in. And she said, no we’ll get the interpreter or the person that does hand signs and everything - sign languages to come in. And I said, sorry but he won’t understand white man’s sign languages. He understands our [community] sign languages. (Torres and NPA, Health Worker, #41)
Explanation
(two-way)
Sometimes [clients] don’t understand what the medication are they have to take, and my role is to explain what the doctors have told them if they don’t understand, I explain the medication, how they should take it, when they should take it and why they should take it. Plus any other issues that they have, social or any emotional issues as well. (Cape York, Health Worker, #1)
And liaising with visiting teams as well in the health worker role (…) giving community feedback and consulting with community if new services are coming in, explaining to them. (Cape York, Health Worker, #3)
Representation (two-way)Yep, I come in the morning, first thing in the morning, we have a team meeting handover, and as the Indigenous person, I just speak what I hear in the community. And my role is to go out to make sure that I advocate for the families if there are any issues that have arisen. (Cape York, Health Worker, #20)
Yeah, [we are] like a community representative, and a vital one at that, because the (A&TSIHW) know how to explain situations, both in clinical [care] and especially if there’s an emergency - explain it at a level where [community and family] can understand so they don’t get their back up. (Cape York, Health Worker, #4)
I’ve had nurses that have come in, I even had a doctor that has come in and forced us to do things with our in-laws or with clients - yes, really breaching big time our cultural protocol. And I’ve told them off and they don’t like me because of it, but I’ve stood up for other (A&TSIHW) as well. (Torres and NPA, Health Worker, #40)
  • A&TSIHW, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Worker; NPA, Northern Peninsula Area.