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Australian Indigenous HealthBulletin Alcohol and other drugs knowledge centre Yarning Places

Medicines training for Aboriginal Health Workers a success

Date posted: 29 March 2012

The National Prescribing Service (NPS) has announced that its training programs are successfully enhancing the abilities of Aboriginal Health Workers (AHWs) to help patients manage their medicines.

'We have had excellent feedback on the program from participants,' said Karen Kaye of NPS. Three participants from the Aboriginal Medical Service in Western Sydney reported that the training increased their confidence to answer clients' questions about medicines.

'We often have patients say 'How come we've been given the generic brand?'. Some of them think they've been given the wrong medicine, while others think they are being given an inferior brand,' said participant Mrs Joyce Davison.

As part of the course, each participant receives their own copy of the Australian Medicines Handbook.

'Before I did the course, I was querying (generic brands) too with my own prescriptions. Now that we each have our own handbook, we can look up each medication,' said Mrs Davison.

The training also covers some of the common medicine safety issues that Aboriginal Health Workers can help to address, such as knowing not to share medicines, safe dispensing, storage, contraindications of medicines, identifying adverse events and assisting clients to administer their own medicine.

In 2011, a total of 32 Aboriginal workers from New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia, and South Australia participated in four workshops. An NPS evaluation reported an increase in both knowledge and confidence across all participants surveyed, with participants ranking their satisfaction with the course as either 'satisfied' or 'very satisfied' and all indicating they were keen to continue with more training.

Source: National Prescribing Service


Last updated: 29 March 2012
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