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multicultural environment GP australia
How GPs can thrive in a multicultural environment

Australia boasts a fascinatingly diverse multicultural environment that should excite and challenge every GP who works in its healthcare system.

GPs considering working in Australia will find success in its rich, ethnic landscape incredibly rewarding.

Just over a quarter (25.9%) of people who live in Australia consider themselves English with about the same number (25.4%) describing themselves as ‘Australian’.

Beyond that, it becomes very interesting.

Irish (7.5%) and Scottish (6.4%) make up the next highest denominations followed by Italian (3.3%), German (3.2%), Chinese (3.1%), Indian (1.4%), Greek (1.4%) and Dutch (1.2%).

That leaves another 21.2% or more than one-fifth representing all other races including Indigenous Australians which comprise 0.5%.

Beyond English (72.7%), Mandarin, Arabic, Cantonese and Vietnamese are the most common languages.

While 30% of the country specifies no religion, Protestant (23.1%) and Roman Catholic (22.6%) are most common with other Christian, Muslim, Buddhist and Orthodox all accounting for more than 2% each.

Curiously, Australian doctors come from an even more diverse background than their patients.

More than half Australia’s doctors were born overseas.

You’ll feel right at home among the Australian medical fraternity with India (21%), the UK (19%), South Africa (8%) and Sri Lanka (5%) the leading countries of origin.

Here’s how GPs of all denominations can excel in Australia’s multicultural environment.

Embrace cultural competency

This strikes at the very heart of providing effective healthcare in a multicultural environment.

It is literally investing in your surroundings and the patients who pay your bills.

Learn about other cultures, what makes people tick, their beliefs and what they do and don’t like in healthcare.

It is a great way to open lines of communication with your patients and build trust, leaving to improved patient outcomes.

Trust is even more critical in a multicultural setting. 

A doctor who can demonstrate genuine respect for a patient’s cultural differences, shows empathy and actively involves their patients in decision-making will enjoy better results.

Learn the language

Nobody expects a GP to be proficient in multiple languages.

But every one in which you are proficient makes you a bigger asset to any business.

And by learning words and phrases in other languages, you also add to your value as a GP.

Language is one of the biggest barriers in any setting and that is especially true of healthcare.

Bridging those communication gaps ensures an accurate understanding of a patient’s needs and a superior delivery of care.

Consider interpretation services

If language remains a barrier with patients from diverse linguistic backgrounds, consider employing an interpretation service.

The Australian government offers a free interpretive service for medical practitioners including on-site interpreting.

These services help ensure accurate and meaningful conversations between doctor and patient, promoting better healthcare outcomes.

Incorporate culturally sensitive care plans

Recognising and appreciating cultural differences should extend to the development of care plans.

GPs should work with their patients to create personalised healthcare strategies that align with their patient’s cultural preferences.

This helps them embrace any treatment plan and results in more effective outcomes.

Community engagement and partnerships

Being seen in the community is a great way to foster and develop relationships and confidence within that community.

This is even more important in a multicultural setting where language barriers sometimes exist.

GPs should be encouraged to participate in anything that will promote that cause.

This includes cultural events, collaboration with community organisations and engagement in any other local activities that demonstrate a commitment to the wellbeing of its diverse patient population.

Continue education on cultural sensitivities

Keeping informed about cultural practices, healthcare disparities and social determinants of healthcare is crucial.

This extends to current affairs where it is important to remain sensitive to world events such as foreign conflicts or tragedies.

GPs may attend workshops, seminars and training programs focussed specifically on cultural sensitivity and diversity in healthcare.

Build a culturally diverse team

This applies more so to practices than individual doctors.

It stands to reason that a clinic with a mix of doctors from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds will have a greater range of strengths and appeal to a much wider variety of patients.

You wouldn’t pick a sports team with 10 forwards and no defenders.

So it makes sense to build a medical practice with doctors who speak different languages and observe different customs from as many different countries as possible.

There is also so much more doctors from varying backgrounds can learn from each other while working in a collaborative environment.

Contact HRA today

Working as a successful GP in Australia’s multicultural environment requires not just learning about its breadth of nationalities and cultures but embracing them.

GPs who commit to cultural competence, language proficiency and community engagement will quickly find their careers in Australia soar.

If you are a GP from anywhere in the world considering a move to work in Australia, you will now understand that your uniqueness and individuality will quickly become one of your greatest strengths and virtues.

There are multiple opportunities available for doctors keen to make the move and enjoy everything Australia has to offer.

And Health Recruitment Australia can make it happen for you!

HRA is a dedicated recruitment agency that specialises in matching overseas doctors of all ages with the right clinics in Australia.

A significant GP shortage exists in Australia right now.

If you’re one of the many thousands of doctors considering emigrating down under to work, let HRA make your job easier.

We’ll help you find you the right city, area, and practice to work in.

We’ll answer all of your questions, putting your mind at ease to make your move as comfortable as possible.

And we’ll even take the hassle out of all that paperwork too!

Why not start with an informal, no-obligation discussion with the experienced team at Health Recruitment Australia? Contact us.

Enquire now, and we’ll be
in touch shortly!


Enquire now, and we’ll be
in touch shortly!