Training at NorthWest BreastScreen - Cultural Awareness Session highlighting the Vietnamese and Somali communities in Australia
To provide participants with an overview of both the Somali and Vietnamese communities in Australia; their background, family and social structures, general customs, health issues; attitudes towards health and towards the health system.
All Graduates has run several training sessions on ‘Working effectively with interpreters' , most recently in August 2009.
BreastScreen is a radiographic screening service for women over 50 to help in the detection of breast cancer - hopefully, early detection - for most effective treatment.
The session was specifically run for Clinical Nurse counsellors with the assistance of two experienced health clinicians of Somali and Vietnamese ethnicity.
Interpreting at BreastScreen presents a series of challenges for interpreters and staff:
- BreastScreen has high contact with culturally and linguistically diverse migrant women
- There is heavy demand for BreastScreen services and sometimes there can be a tendency to ‘make do' without interpreters, believing English language skills may be sufficient for everything to be understood
- Extensive form-filling in ranges from routine details to complex consent forms for various invasive procedures
- Some of BreastScreen's work is done in situations of high anxiety of women for their bodies and health
Outcomes of the training
A post-training evaluation revealed a high level of approval of the delivery of the session and the relevance of the issues.
Participants were invited to nominate advice that they would give to a new colleague when working with Somali and Vietnamese clients.
- Some Vietnamese women attending BreastScreen are very traditional in respect to beliefs and attitudes to health and have low English language skills.
- Understand the complexity of family relationships and different cultural ideas of time/appointments.
- A lot of issues faced by women with a diagnosis of breast cancer are experienced by most women, not just a specific culture.
- This group (Somalis) are very early in their settlement and issues are very “raw”. They have limited knowledge of the screening program.