The Health Practitioner Regulation National Law Act, as in force in each state and territory (the National Law),established the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practice Board of Australia (the Board) to begin national regulation of the profession from 1 July 2012. The Board is responsible for the regulation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioners and established the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practice Accreditation Committee (the committee) under the National Law in July 2012.
Professional capabilities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioners (165 KB )
The professional capabilities identify the knowledge,
skills and professional attributes needed to safely and
competently practise as an Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander Health Practitioner in Australia. They describe the
threshold level of professional capability required for both
initial and continuing registration.
The committee is responsible for accrediting and
monitoring education providers and Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander health practice programs of study
(programs). It accredits programs that meet – and
monitors programs to ensure they continue to meet – the
accreditation standards developed by the committee and
approved by the Board.
The revised accreditation standards (2019 accreditation
standards) require education providers to design and
implement a program where learning outcomes and
assessment tasks map to all the professional capabilities
in this document. Accreditation of a program assures
the Board and the community that graduating students
from the accredited Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
health practice program have the knowledge, skills and
professional attributes needed to safely and competently
practise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health
practice in Australia.
The Board considers approving an accredited program as
providing a qualification for registration purposes, based
on its accreditation by the committee. The Board does not
directly examine or assess the competence of applicants
for registration who have completed their Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander health practice education in Australia
and hold an approved qualification.
The Board has statutory functions as a regulator of the
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health practice
profession in Australia. One of the Board’s statutory
functions is ‘to register suitably qualified and competent
persons in the health profession’. 1 In addition to their
use in accreditation, the professional capabilities in this
document may be used by the Board as a reference
point of threshold capability when exercising its statutory
functions, including for:
The professional capabilities may also be used:
The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health worker
and health practitioner workforce evolved from a need
to provide culturally safe clinical and primary health care
services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
whose health needs were not being met by mainstream
services. Its emergence is also related to the need to
address health service gaps, such as the need to provide
geographically-accessible services to Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander peoples. This profession has existed
in Australia for over 40 years, with the inaugural National
Aboriginal Health Worker conference being held in Darwin,
Northern Territory in 1978.
Primary health care is the entry level to the health system
and is usually a person’s first encounter with the health
system. Primary health includes a broad range of activities
and services, from health promotion and prevention,
to treatment and management of acute and chronic
While most Australians will receive primary care through
their General Practitioner (GP) who often act as the access
point for primary health care, an Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander Health Practitioner is a critical ‘first-portof
call’ for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioners
provide primary health care across primary, secondary and
tertiary health care settings. They may work in the public,
private, non-government and/or Aboriginal Community
Controlled Health sectors.
Health services in rural and remote Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander communities are dependent on primary
health care services, particularly those provided by
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioners.
There is no defined scope of practice for Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioners. Practitioners
have a responsibility to recognise and work within the
limits of their competence and scope of practice. Scopes
of practice vary according to different roles; for example,
practitioners, researchers and managers will all have quite
different competence and scopes of practice. To illustrate,
in relation to working within their scope of practice,
practitioners may need to consider whether they have
appropriate qualifications and experience to provide
advice on over the counter and scheduled medicine,
herbal remedies, vitamin supplements etc.
The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health
Worker Association (NATSIHWA) has developed a
a framework that provides an example of ways that
individual registered Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
Health Practitioners can identify the limits of their
competence and scope of practice.3 The framework does
not define exactly what each Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander Health Practitioner can do, rather it is a tool for
developing and identifying individual scope of practice
based on a range of elements such as qualifications,
experience, practice setting and jurisdictional context.
While there are many professional capabilities to be a
competent health practitioner, in Australia’s multicultural
society, cultural competence is particularly important.
Cultural competence is defined as a set of consistent
behaviours, attitudes, and policies that come together in a
system, agency, or among professionals and enables that
system, agency, or those professionals to work effectively
in cross-cultural situations.
The word culture is used because it implies the integrated
pattern of human behaviour that includes thoughts,
communications, actions, customs, beliefs, values, and
institutions of a racial, ethnic, religious, or social group.
The word competence is used because it implies having
the capacity to function effectively. A culturally competent
system of care acknowledges and incorporates - at all
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioners
in Australia must be able to work effectively with
people from various cultures, that may differ from their
own. Culture may include, but is not limited to, age,
gender, sexual orientation, race, socio-economic status
(including occupation), religion, physical, mental or
other impairments, ethnicity and health service culture.
A holistic, patient/client and family-centred approach to
practice requires cultural competence.
All health practitioners in Australia, including Aboriginal
and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioners, need a
working knowledge of factors that contribute to and
influence the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander Peoples. These factors include history,
spirituality and relationship to land, and other social
determinants of health in Aboriginal and Torres Strait
The Board is part of the National Registration and
Accreditation Scheme’s (the National Scheme’s) Aboriginal
and Torres Strait Islander Health Strategy Group5 (the
Health Strategy Group) which published a Statement
of Intent (the Statement) in July 2018. The Statement
highlights the Health Strategy Group’s intent to achieve
equity in health outcomes between Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander Peoples and other Australians and to close
the gap by 2031. Their vision is that patient/client safety
for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples is the
The definition of cultural safety has been developed for
the National Scheme and adopted by the National Health
Leadership Forum. The Health Strategy Group developed
the definition in partnership with a public consultation
Cultural safety is determined by Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander individuals, families and communities.
Culturally safe practise is the ongoing critical
reflection of health practitioner knowledge,
skills, attitudes, practising behaviours and power
differentials in delivering safe, accessible and
responsive healthcare free of racism.
To ensure culturally safe and respectful practice, health
The professional capabilities in this document are
organised into five domains that cover capabilities
common to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health
Practitioners. Each domain consists of corresponding key
capabilities and enabling components.
The domains are thematically arranged and describe
the essential characteristics of a safe and competent
registered Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health
The key capabilities describe the necessary features of safe
and competent practice in a range of contexts of varied
complexity and uncertainty. Practitioners are expected to
demonstrate key capabilities from various domains during
each consultation with a patient/client. This recognises
that competent professional practice is more than a sum
of each discrete part and requires an ability to draw on
and integrate a range of capabilities to support overall
The enabling components describe the essential and
measurable characteristics of the corresponding key
capabilities and facilitate assessment of performance in
the practice setting. Safe and competent Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioners are expected
to demonstrate all enabling components for all the key
capabilities in clinical practice. This includes applying,
adapting and integrating new and existing knowledge
from experience to continually improve clinical and
Explanatory notes follow each domain and give
clarification and more information about some enabling
Professional capability is the ability to take appropriate
and effective action to solve problems in both familiar and
unfamiliar, complex and changing settings.6 Competence
is an essential part of being capable, but is not the only
Competence refers to the knowledge and skills
consistently applied to the standard of performance
required in the workplace.7,8 The definition of competence
required for the job will change as the job role evolves.
Capable people have high levels of self-efficacy, know
how to learn, work well with others and are creative.9 An
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioner’s
capability will expand and improve as they gain
professional experience. Professional capability refers
to how a practitioner uses their professional judgement,
decision-making skills and experiential knowledge to apply
their scientific and cultural knowledge, practical skills and
ability in any given situation.
‘Threshold professional capability’ is used to describe
the capability level required to practise as a registered
health practitioner in Australia. This is based on the idea
that capability levels can be described on a continuum.
The threshold represents the point on the continuum
that shows the minimum acceptable level of capability
to practise as an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
Health Practitioner. This level is described as ‘threshold
professional capability’ (see Figure 1).
The professional capabilities in this document describe
the requirements for safe and competent Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander Health Practice from the perspective
of a registered Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health
Practitioner. This differs from the commonly used approach
of using the perspective of someone wanting to enter
practice threshold professional capability.
In contrast, the professional capabilities in this document
describe the requirements for safe and competent
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health practice from
the perspective of a registered Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander Health Practitioner. The key capabilities
and enabling components in this document consider the
complex conceptual, analytical and behavioural elements
that integrate competent performance of observable
abilities into Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health
practice relevant to the key capability. The foundational
abilities, such as the knowledge, skills, attitudes, values
and judgements, that may be learnt in entry-level
programs, are integrated in the abilities described by the
key capabilities and enabling components.
The diagram illustrates the concept of a line on the
capability continuum delineating ‘threshold professional
capability’. The green arrow represents the capability
on the continuum above the threshold. The red area
represents gradations of capability on the continuum
below the threshold. The line labelled ‘Threshold
professional capability’ is the lower margin on the green
arrow – that is, the minimum level of capability required to
practise safely and competently as a registered Aboriginal
and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioner in Australia.
The professional capabilities are relevant throughout a
registered Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health
Practitioner’s career. Registered Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander Health Practitioners need to maintain
at least the threshold level of professional capability
in all areas relevant to their practice and maintain the
currency of their skills and knowledge through continuing
The committee invites users of this document to provide
Please email your comments and suggestions to the
Program Accreditation Team at firstname.lastname@example.org. The committee will review all feedback
received, which will inform any future refinements to this
1 Section 35(1)(a) of the National Law Act
2 ‘Primary health care in Australia’, see www.aihw.gov.au/reports/primary-health-care/primary-health-care-in-australia/contents/aboutprimary-health-care. Accessed 19 March 2019.
3 ‘National Framework for determining scope of pracitce for the Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Health Worker and Health
Practitioner Workforce,’ see https://natsihwa.org.au/sites/default/files/natsihwa_scope_of_practice_2018.pdf Accessed 11 December
4 Cross T, Bazron B, Dennis K, and Isaacs M (1989) Towards a culturally competent system of care. Washington, DC: Georgetown
University Child Development Center, CASSP Technical Assistance Center.
5 For more information see the National Scheme’s Health Strategy Group.
6 Davis L and Hase S (1999) ‘Developing capable employees: the work activity briefing’. Journal of Workplace Learning. 8:35-42.
7 Department of Health and Human Services State of Victoria (2016). Allied health: credentialling, competency and capability framework
(revised edition). Melbourne: State of Victoria Department of Health and Human Services.
8 Australian Skills Quality Authority (2017). ‘Users’ guide to the standards for RTOs 2015’, Canberra: Australian Government., see, www.asqa.gov.au/standards. Accessed on 20 November 2018.
9 Lester S (2014) ‘Professional standards, competence and capability’. Higher Education, Skills and Work-based Learning. 4(1):31–43.
This domain covers the knowledge, skills and capabilities an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioner requires to practise independently and safely and provide culturally safe, quality, patient/client-and family-centred care in a range of varied settings. These settings can include urban/rural/remote clinics, during home visits, at schools, aged-care facilities, maternal and child health clinics, on-site at work sheds, and in public hospitals.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioners are usually located in an Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, a community health or an acute care setting and provide primary health care services to the Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander community.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioners work as a part of a multidisciplinary team and provide Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander primary health care services including screening, assessment, brief intervention and referral, health education, early detection and intervention for health and well-being issues, and contribute to case planning and case management of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander patients/clients.
Identify factors, including cultural considerations, language and literacy levels or
conditions may include identifying a patient’s/client’s cultural background, cultural
connection to land and country, and traditions and lores of which they follow/practice. It
is also important to recognise that for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients/clients,
English may be a second, third or fourth language.
Patient/client capacity or behaviour may be influenced by pre-existing physical,
physiological or psychological medical conditions, age, pregnancy, culture, English language
skills, psycho-social and socio-economic factors and personal beliefs.
Drawing on applied knowledge of anatomy, physiology and associated microbiology,
pathophysiology, pathology and pharmacology may cover respiratory, circulatory,
integumentary, digestive, genitourinary, endocrine, musculoskeletal, and nervous systems.
Safely and effectively treating the patient/client includes providing physically and culturally
safe primary health care to a patient/client and their family.
Recognising and responding to a patient’s/client’s deteriorating condition is expected to
be consistent with the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Healthcare’s National consensus statement on recognising and responding to acute physiological deterioration.
Conveying information and escalating care when required is a key responsibility when
an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioner identifies medically significant
findings during an assessment. Information may be conveyed verbally or in writing, in
line with relevant health service protocols and procedures. Information is expected to
be conveyed to the appropriate people who may include other health practitioners,
the patient/client and their family/carer(s)/guardian(s). Communication between health
practitioners about the clinical status of a patient/client and their family is expected to be
Identifying urgent and unexpected findings includes recognising and applying knowledge
of normal from abnormal findings during assessment and relating appearances to the
patient’s/client’s clinical history.
Identifying when emergency medical care is required and safely perform common first aid
and life support procedures means contacting emergency medical services when needed
and/or providing first aid to the patient/client.
Clinical history may include patient/client records, records collected from national
registers/databases, previous medical information collected from patients/clients, guardians
or other family members during the current or previous treatment(s).
Legislative requirements and guidelines include health records guidelines in the Board’s
Code of conduct, and relevant state/territory and Australian legislation about privacy of data
and the differences across states and territories.
Clinical information management systems may include internal record systems, such
as Communicare, red-flag systems for blood tests, and government databases such as
Managing clinical information includes understanding and following patient/client and
assessment and/or treatment workflows, searching correctly (e.g. by patient/client,
location, date etc.), understanding and following folder structures.
Responding to data errors and/or system failures includes troubleshooting and fixing errors
where possible or reporting errors/failures to the systems administrator promptly.
Legislative requirements and guidelines relating to safe and effective use of medicines
relevant to practice may include state/territory and Australian legislation, including the
relevant poisons and dangerous drugs act in each state and territory, about the supply and
administration of medicines. It also includes understanding how pathological conditions may
impact on the delivery of some medicines.
Safely and effectively administer medicines includes being able to complete administration
of medications via multiple methods and/or routes.
Actively monitoring the effects of medicines and manage adverse reactions may include
directly monitoring and managing the patient/client, for example when giving medicine
by injection. It may also include, for example, retrospectively monitoring the effects of
medicines on the patient’s/client’s follow-up visit (if conducted) and managing any adverse
reactions by modifying the dose.
Record the administration of medicines may include health service procedures as well as
the medication safety criteria within the National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards (NSQHS Standards). Procedures may include confirming correct patient/client, dose, route,
medication, time and documentation (Six Rights of Medication) etc.
This domain covers an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioner’s responsibility and commitment to
the health and well-being of individual patients/clients and community through professional and ethical practice
within the Australian medico-legal framework, high personal standards of behaviour, maintenance of personal health,
and accountability to the profession and society. It also addresses their responsibility for ensuring that patient/client
confidentiality and privacy is maintained at all times, while recognising the role as a patient/client advocate.
Legal responsibilities include responsibilities contained in relevant state/territory and
Australian legislation and regulations, specific responsibilities to maintain privacy,
confidentiality, confirm informed consent and exercise duty of care.
Key elements of fitness to practise include competence and professionalism, a sense of
responsibility and accountability, self-awareness and professional values, sound mental
health and the capacity to maintain health and wellbeing for practice.
Reporting obligations are addressed in the Board’s Guidelines for mandatory notifications,
and includes making a notification about the health (impairment), conduct or performance
of a registered health practitioner that may be placing the public at risk, and about the
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioner’s own impairments to practise safely.
Appropriate information provided to patients/clients may include explaining the
implications of a treatment and/or explaining the considerations for people at risk such as
those patients/clients with blood-borne diseases, undertaking chemotherapy, or suffering
from mental illness. The information provided to patients/clients should cover the collective
views of the whole health care team to make sure optimal care is provided.
Relevant aspects of the Australian health care system may include but are not limited to,
knowledge of service provision arrangements, the structure and role of Medicare.
Principles underpinning bio-ethics include respecting the rights of the individual, respecting
the autonomy of the individual, causing no harm and advancing the common good.
Socio-cultural factors may include but are not limited to, those related to cultural and
linguistic diversity, age, gender, disability, religion, socio-economic, geographic locations;
and identifying as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander.
Culturally competent practice acknowledges and incorporates - at all levels - the
importance of culture, the assessment of cross-cultural relations, vigilance towards the
dynamics that result from cultural differences, the expansion of cultural knowledge, and the
adaptation of services to meet culturally-unique needs.
Cultural safety is defined in the Glossary.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ ways of knowing relates to entities of
people, land, animals, plants, skies, waterways and climate. Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander Peoples’ ways of being is a concept about how to be respectful, responsible and
accountable in relation to self and entities. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’
ways of doing is the lived expression of relatedness.10
Appropriate professional behaviour includes behaviour that is non-discriminatory,
empathetic and respects socio-cultural differences. It is expected to reflect the cultural
protocols and traditional systems existing within a specific health service and/or community
to ensure conduct is respectful of the specific geographic area in which primary health care
is being delivered.
Supporting and promoting alternative patient/client pathways is needed when it
is recognised that the planned patient/client pathway may not provide the optimal
outcome for the patient/client and their family. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health
Practitioners provide patient/client-centred care and advocate for the patient’s/client’s
equitable access to effective treatment, other health professionals and services that address
their needs as a whole person, acknowledging that access broadly includes availability,
affordability, acceptability and appropriateness.
This domain covers Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioners’ responsibility to communicate clearly,
effectively, empathetically and appropriately with the patient/client and their family/carer(s)/guardian(s). It also addresses
their responsibility to work effectively with other health practitioners to provide safe, high-quality, patient/client-centred
Effective communication includes active listening, use of appropriate adjustments for
patients/clients and an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioner for cultural
reasons (i.e. certain familial relationships where some members cannot be in the same room),
use of appropriate language and detail, use of appropriate verbal and non-verbal cues, and
confirming that the other person has understood.
Communication beyond patient/client may include with family, significant others, carers,
use of interpreters, legal guardians and medical advocates.
Communication barriers may arise due to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health
Practitioner’s own culture and experience affecting their interpersonal style, or due to the
culture and experience of the patient/client or their family/carer(s)/guardian(s). The capacity
for the patient/client or family/carer(s)/guardian(s) to understand may be influenced by
English language skills, health literacy, age, physical and mental health status.
Informed consent is a person’s voluntary decision about health care that is made with
knowledge and understanding of the benefits and risks involved. A guide to the information
that practitioners need to give to patients/clients is available in the National Health and
Medical Research Council (NHMRC) publication General guidelines for medical practitioners
in providing information to patients/clients (www.nhmrc.gov.au)
Health care team members may include registered health practitioners, other health
professionals, and health care workers including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health
Making recommendations about the suitability and application of the proposed treatment
includes understanding the risks and benefits to patients/clients of the treatment and
requires effective collaboration with other members of the health care team. More
experienced Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioners may be expected to
direct other members of the health care team when appropriate.
Communicating and collaborating with other health practitioners may include referring
patients/clients to other practitioners and/or working in a multidisciplinary team. When
referring patients/clients, practitioners are expected to communicate verbally and/or in
This domain covers Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioners’ responsibility to engage in evidence-based
practice and to critically monitor their actions through a range of reflective processes. It also addresses their responsibility
for identifying, planning and implementing their ongoing professional learning needs with the objective of continuous
Issues or challenges are not limited to clinical issues or challenges. Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander Health Practitioners are expected to identify and seek a solution for any issue
or challenge they encounter in their context of practice.
Evidence from the best available research is information from valid and clinically relevant
research conducted using sound methodology.
Professional development may be provided by the professional community and the broader
health care network and/or practice.
This domain covers Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioners’ responsibility to protect patients/clients,
others and the environment from harm by managing and responding to the risks inherent in Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander health practice. It also addresses their responsibility to demonstrate leadership to ensure safe, effective and high
quality professional services to patients/clients and other service users.
Relevant legislative and regulatory requirements, protocols and guidelines include state/
territory and Australian legislation, regulation, protocols and guidelines, recognising that
there may be differences across the states and territories, as well as relevant guidelines
issued by the Board.
Risk management includes an understanding of relevant quality assurance frameworks and
their application to practice.
Recognising and reporting includes appropriately identifying the near miss or adverse
event, notifying the relevant person(s), and recording it correctly, consistent with relevant
health service protocols and procedures, legislative and regulatory requirements.
Patient/client identification procedures include using at least three recognised patient/
client identifiers and may include procedures for transferring patients/clients from other
health professionals. Procedures may be contained in national protocols published by the
Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care, relevant state/territory and
Australian guidance materials, and health service materials.
Infection control risk management includes managing transmission modes of hospitalacquired
infections (host, agent and environment); preventing the transmission including
effective hand hygiene; implementing NHMRC guidelines; and health care-associated
infection criteria within the National Safety and Quality Health Service (NSQHS) standards.
Quality frameworks may include health service specific frameworks, relevant jurisdiction
publications, and frameworks relevant to the context of practice.
Good order may be achieved by following cleaning and hygiene protocols, machine
calibration protocols and acceptable operating standards. Issues affecting the functioning of
equipment are to be fully resolved before treating patients/clients in line with any relevant
protocols, procedures and health service materials.
Incident reporting requirements may be identified in protocols, procedures and health
service materials, and may include legal requirements identified in relevant state/territory
and Australian legislation and regulations.
10 Martin K and Mirraboopa B (2003) ‘Ways of knowing, being and doing: A theoretical framework and methods for indigenous and
indigenist research’. Journal of Australian Studies. 27(76):203-214.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioner means a person registered by the
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practice Board. The practitioner may use the titles:
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers (ATSIHWs) provide primary health care for
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients but unlike Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health
Practitioners, ATSIHWs are not registered health professionals.
Appointed by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practice Board of Australia (the
Board), the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practice Accreditation Committee (the
committee) is responsible for implementing and administering accreditation functions under
the National Law.
Used to assess whether a program of study (the program) and the education provider give
people who complete the program the knowledge, skills and professional attributes needed to
safely and competently practise as an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Health Practitioner.
Adverse events are unintended and sometimes harmful occurrences associated with the use
of a medicine or medical device (collectively known as therapeutic goods). Adverse events
include side effects to medicines and problems or incidents involving medical devices.11
Those facilities - whether material, cultural or institutional - that the members of a community
provide to all members to fulfil a relational obligation they all have to care for certain interests
they have in common.12
Cultural safety is determined by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander individuals, families and
Culturally safe practise is the ongoing critical reflection of health practitioner knowledge,
skills, attitudes, practising behaviours and power differentials in delivering safe, accessible and
responsive healthcare free of racism.
To ensure culturally safe and respectful practice, health practitioners must:
The term used by National Law to describe registrered training organisations (RTOs),
universities, tertiary education institutions or other institutions or organisations that provide
vocational training, or specialist medical colleges or health professional colleges.
Describe the essential and measurable characteristics of the corresponding key capabilities
and facilitate assessment of performance in the practice setting. Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander Health Practitioners are expected to demonstrate all enabling components for all key
capabilities for safe and competent practice. This includes applying, adapting and integrating
new and existing knowledge and skills gained from experience to continually improve
The term ‘impairment’ has a specific meaning under the National Law in Australia. It refers to a
physical or mental impairment, disability, condition or disorder that is linked to a practitioner’s
capacity to practise or a student’s capacity to undertake clinical training. That is, a person’s
physical or mental impairment, disability, condition or disorder is only a matter of interest
to the Board (including its delegated decision-maker) if it detrimentally affects or is likely to
detrimentally affect a practitioner’s capacity to practise or a student’s capacity to undertake
In the context of the Australian health care system, a jurisdiction refers to the Australian or a
state or territory.
Describe the key features of safe and competent practice in a range of contexts and situations
of varied complexity and uncertainty. During any one procedure or treatment, practitioners
are expected to demonstrate key capabilities from various domains. This recognises that
competent professional practice is more than a sum of each discrete part and requires an ability
to draw on and integrate the breadth of capabilities to support overall performance.
The expression of the set of knowledge and skills and the application of the knowledge and
skills a person has acquired and is able to demonstrate as a result of learning.14
A program of study consists of a set of structured units or subjects provided by an education
provider. The term ‘course’ is used by many education providers.
11 Adapted from Australian Government Department of Health’s Therapeutic Goods Administration, ‘Reporting adverse events’, see www.tga.gov.au/reporting-adverse-events. Accessed on 23 October 2019.
12 ‘The Common Good’, see www.plato.stanford.edu/entries/common-good. Accessed on 23 October 2019.
13 Section 143(1) of the National Law.
14 Adapted from Australian Qualifications Framework, Second Edition January 2013, see www.aqf.edu.au/. Accessed on 23 October 2019.