Australia

The continent of Australia contains an extremely diverse population, that ranges from Aboriginal natives, to those of European distant, with a recent influx of Asian immigrants. Together, this population creates a melting pot of diversity with the majority of people living in cities along the coast. Together, the people of Australia share a cumulative deposit of knowledge, experience, beliefs and values that makes the people of this country a culture. Nonetheless, much of Australia is diverse—especially within the cities.

Values/Norms

Australians value a democratic society—which is ruled by the constitution and parliamentary democracy (Our Government, 2010). Like many industrial countries, immigration can be fairly difficult in Australia because the government strives to protect jobs for its citizens. The people of Australia are generally open and friendly. Diversity is accepted, but those who live in Australia are expected to live according to the common values and principles that shape Australian culture—which is largely comprised of people with a humble attitude and a “no worries” philosophy. Freedom of speech and religion is a key value of the Australian society. Diverse religious practices are tolerated and accepted as long as they adhere to the secular legal system of Australia. Equal opportunity is provided regardless of ethnic background or sex. Although Australia has no official language, the country is mainly monolingual with English being the “de facto” national language (About Australia, 2007).

Beliefs/Attitudes

Australians value a democratic society—which is ruled by the constitution and parliamentary democracy (Our Government, 2010). Like many industrial countries, immigration can be fairly difficult in Australia because the government strives to protect jobs for its citizens. Nonetheless, the Australian government values immigration and creates programs to encourage skilled workers to fill empty positions within the countries workforce—especially within healthcare. The people of Australia are generally open and friendly. Diversity is accepted, but those who live in Australia are expected to live according to the common values and principles that shape Australian culture—which is largely comprised of people with a humble attitude and a “no worries” philosophy. Freedom of speech and religion is a key value of the Australian society. Diverse religious practices are tolerated and accepted as long as they adhere to the secular legal system of Australia. Equal opportunity is provided regardless of ethnic background or sex. Although Australia has no official language, the country is mainly monolingual with English being the “de facto” national language (About Australia, 2007)

Traditions

Anzac Day

Anzac Day on April 25th can be considered the most significant secular holiday in Australia. Anzac stands for the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps and the holiday originally celebrates the Anzac landing on Gallipoli, Turkey in 1915. In modern days the holiday has come to represent all wars that Australia has been involved in. (Every Culture, 2010). The commemorative services start at dawn and veterans march through the street and share drinks and stories later in the afternoon. During the day, the ceremonies include an introduction, a hymn, a prayer, an address, laying of wreaths recitation, a period of silence, and the national anthem. (Australia, 2001).

Australia day

Australia day, on January 26th, commemorates the day the English declared Australia a new colony in 1788. (Australia, 2001). However, there are different ways to view Australia day, some more cynical than others. This is the same date that the first fleet of convicts landed in Botany Bay. You can imagine there was some controversy about choosing January 26th as Australia Day. However, the cruelty the convicts suffered under the prison wardens was a previous existence that Australians can now celebrate for being free from as well. (Convict Creations, n.d.).

Christmas

As a predominantly Christian country, Australians celebrate Christmas as a family holiday much like the western world does – except with some aesthetic differences. We must remember that Australian Christmas, nevertheless still celebrated on December 25th, happens in the middle of their often hot blazing summers. (Australia, 2001). Santa is routinely portrayed as a jolly man in spotty board shorts swimming in a pool. In fact, children often cherish the imagery of Kangaroos, slang termed “Boomers”, as pulling santa’s sleigh. (Rowlands, 2006). Being a family day combined with nice weather, a significant amount of time is spent outside at barbecues or playing cricket.

Melbourne Cup Day

Melbourne Cup Day is an annual horse racing even in Melbourne, one of Australia’s states. (Every Culture, 2010). Perhaps since the top three most well known historical characters of Australia are a cricketer, a bushranger, and a racehorse, it is fitting to have such a widely-celebrated sports event. By 1866 the government proclaimed Melbourne Cup Day a public holiday. It is held on a tuesday and most everyone stops what they are doing to watch the races and make wagers on their favorite horse. (Convict Creations, n.d.).

Boxing Day

Boxing day, on December 26th, is a public holiday most Australians spend on the beach. Since this is the day after Christmas, most see it as an “extension” of Christmas. (Australia, 2001).

Other Traditions/holidays

Other than these four major holidays, other holidays common in western countries are also acknowledged such as New Years, Labor Day, Easter and Saint Patrick’s Day. (Every Culture, 2010).

Aboriginal Traditions

Aboriginal culture all goes back to Dreamtime, an era where the aboriginal ancestors existed and created all that is in existence today. Dreamtime still exists in the Aboriginal people’s dreams. Stories and traditions about dreamtime are passed on through various art form during ceremonies. (Aboriginal Art, n.d.).

There are numerous stories and traditions about dreamtime, however a general commonality is that the Aborigines are offspring to their ancestors that created Earth. The stories and traditions tied in with this belief are very important and all aborigine boys must go though initiation to show they are responsible enough to protect the traditions of Dreamtime. Initiation may be several months long where the boys are taught about everything around them. By the end of the learning process, the boys have demonstrated that they are responsible enough to pass on the traditions.

Aboriginals believe that their ancestor’s souls are contained in practically every natural physical object, including the mountains, caves, trees, stones, etc, and represent how the Aboriginals are in touch with Earth.

The festivals where Aboriginals pass on traditions and stories are called Corroborees. They usually dress up and pain themselves and play drums and didgeridoos as they dance, usually in some imitation of animals and hunting movements. Corroborees can be held for a number of specific reasons, for examples to gain luck in hunting, receive rain, to celebrate, or to mourn. (Aboriginals in Australia, n.d.)

Ceremony is at the core of Aboriginal culture and is the largest mode for sharing stories and dramas though traditional song, music, dance, and visual arts. All of these art forms are considered part of a complex whole to Aborigines.

Traditional Aboriginal music was made with vocals, drums, tapping boomerangs together, and probably most well-known, the didgeridoo, which has become a major symbol of traditional Aboriginal music.

Modern popularized Aboriginal music is commonly a fusion mix of rock and folk styles with Aboriginal core. Some bands include Coloured Stone, The Pilgrim Brothers, Archie Roach, and the Yolngu band Yothu Yindi. (Culture Portal, 2008).

Sense of self/space

Australians have a relatively big sense of personal space and therefor have a large personal bubble (Cliff, 2007). When talking with someone it is prudent to be mindful of your position. In typical conversation, about an arms length is a normal distance to be from someone (University of Newcastle, 2008).

The Australian sense of self can be viewed through their sense of “mateship” and their sense of humor. A mate or mateship refers to a platonic relationship that traditionally goes much deeper than friendship. It is a term that portrays shared experience, mutual respect, support, and assistance. It was developed from the times of struggle during the birth of Australia when individuals relied on each other for help (Culture Portal, 2007), which denotes a cultural attitude among the settlers in Australia.

The Australian sense of humor is distinct and often depreciating in an affectionate way. Australian humor is often very “black”, meaning it may be found in poor taste to those not Australian. It may tie in with Australia’s brutal history, where humor became a method for dealing with difficult situations. In this way, Australians tend to look at the “brighter side” of unfavorable situations. To note another traditional Australian sense of self by looking at humor, Australian humor can also be self-deprecating. An example is the Comedian Steady Eddy, who uses his disability of Cerebral Palsy as material for his comedies. (Culture Portal, 2007).

Aboriginal sense of self, as previously alluded to, is encompassed in their connection to their ancestors and the earth through Dreams and their identity is derived from Dreamtime, explained previously.

Language

Australians generally make up a relaxed and informal society. Greetings such as, “Hey, how’s it going” are common and in slightly more formal settings a handshake is generally given with a greeting. In typical format of conversation, Australians are not stringent with their use of please and thank you and it is customary to make eye contact when conversing. Slang can become a common part of speech. Some examples are: “You right?” (Do you need assistance?), “Good on ya!” (Well done!), and “It’s my shout!” (It’s my turn!). (University of Newcastle, 2008).

In non-verbal communication, Australians typically avoid physical touch (except for hand-shaking) until they know each other better. In situations with friends when Americans may hug, Australians will typically give a kiss on one or both cheeks and reserve hugging for close and more intimate relations. These small kisses on the cheek are typically done between men and women or between two women; not usually between two men. (Foreign Affairs, 2006).

The way Australians regard things is typically less formal and less politically correct. They are often direct in expressing points and their sense of humor is, as portrayed previously, dry, direct, and sometimes described as black. Generally, Australians will regularly use certain swear words rather liberally compared to the norms of other cultures. (Foreign Affairs, 2006).

HOW TO “FIT IN”: Dress and Appearance

Beach versus Bush: The location of where your home resides very much determines the apparel one chooses to wear. If you live near the beach surf: board shorts, colorful light t-shirts, sarongs, thongs (flip flops), and swimwear are what males and females sport. If you live away from the beach and in the “Bush” you may adopt the beach type fashion, however, this population tends to wear more khaki-like materials for pants. The t-shirts for males and females are still colorful and many time contain floral prints. When living in the Bush people tie their love for the outdoors with their daily apparel. Daily accessories for males and females include sunglasses and felt/canvas/palm hats.

Australian Fashion: Swim wear and surf culture is a vital part of what has shaped the fashion in Australia. The textiles and fabrics used to define style     have been influenced by the beautiful landscapes present all over Australia. From the Bush to the Beach the scenery is breathtaking and colorful thus it seems only natural to reflect this in their clothing. This Aboriginal motif is recognized as the national dress of Australia and varies slightly depending on the lifestyle and climate one lives. Name brands such as Quicksilver and Rip Curl are items that are highly popular and bought by tourist when they come to visit Australia.

Little known fashion fact: Did you know that the first local manufacture design for a bikini originated from an Australian woman by the name of Paula Stafford. She began her business in 1946 in her home!!!

HOW TO STOMACH AUSTRALIA: FOOD FAVORITES

Once you set foot in Australia there is no way you will go hungry. As the country of Australia has grown and become more diverse so has the  food selection. So grab your fork and continue to read what being served down under!

Breakfast: Australia identifies as starting off the day with a light breakfast. This often includes either cereal and fruit or porridge depending on the time of year. Those who enjoy a heartier meal with have an appetite for eggs, beans, sausages and  bacon.

Lunch: Lunch usually consists of a sandwich with vegemite. If the weather is extremely warm often times a meal is substituted for a smoothie. Hamburgers are also a favorite as long as they include a fried egg, pickled beet or pineapple!

Dinner: This is the heaviest meal of the day that is often shared with all members of the family sitting together. Australians tend to prefer to eat at home though many are opting to eat out more often.

The meat of Australia: The rumors of Australians stomaching unique meats are true! Kangaroo, wallaby, emu and crocodile are considered delicacy and fine cuisine in Australia.

Unique to Australia:

Australian Meat Pie- Take pie crust and add minced meat, gravy, and onions….bake and serve warm! A National food favorite!

Chiko Roll-A deep fried egg-like roll of goodness stuffed with celery, barley, cabbage, boned mutton, rice, carrot and spices.

Lamington- If you like chocolate you will love this! It’s a square shaped desert with a very thick chocolate frosting topped with coconut or strawberry jam. These items can be found all over the bakeries in Australia.

Vegemite-Considered the NATIONAL food item of Australia! A smooth yet bitter-like taste Australians seem to find a way to put this on anything from a sandwich to pastries!

THE AUSTRALIAN APPROACH TO TIME MANAGEMENT & GREETINGS

In Australia it is not polite to piddle* around especially if you have an important appointment to attend such as a Doctor’s visit or business meeting. Australians pride themselves in their punctuality and being time conscious is very important to them. To ensure that they arrive on time many Australians live    by the motto that is better to arrive a few minutes early rather then be late…..

*Piddling around is acceptable prior to attending a casual social event. Being no more then 15 minutes late is not considered rude and in some parts of Australia is customary.

SOCIAL STRUCTURE & RELATIONSHIPS

For the Majority of Australia: The broad pattern of social organization in Australia is quite similar to ours in the US, except for a few influences which remain from the previously ruling British Empire.  When the country became a commonwealth the Australians chose to integrate both British parliamentary and US federal traditions.  Today, in comparison to the US, an American typically notices the invasiveness of the Australian government.  They have a strong and centralized institution with high taxes, and solid unions (Network for Living Abroad, 2010).  Yet the Australians experience much less division between the upper and lower classes from wealth.  There are still divisions but it is more of a white collar versus blue collar separation.  This is another area where the English influence has remained, where private school graduates are elevated above public school graduates (Network for Living Abroad, 2010).  The forming of relationships is typically informal and the family structure is a fluid concept, like in the US – it has been changing with society.  Usually the bonds originate with the immediate family of mother/father, son/daughter, and brother/sister being the strongest of the relationships and then continues through to the extended family of aunt/uncle, grandfather/grandmother, etc. and then moves out to friends and acquaintances.

Indigenous culture:  Social structures and marriage laws differ greatly from the Australian mainstream.  It is a complex system formed from various aspects of their lives with detailed rules (Welch, n.d.).

First Division is mainly through language and geography, but also includes shared laws.  This group may be upwards of 500 individuals who break into groups of 10-20, or several families, for the daily task of hunting and gathering food.

Second Division is through a religious structure which divides everyone into one of two groups based on their assigned ancestral being, or moiety.  (This is an important distinction since their marriage laws require that only couples from opposite moieties may marry).  Further religious divisions are achieved through individual classification into a religiously significant animal, plant, or important location; these are called totems.

Third Division is a kinship structure which greatly influences the framework of their society.  It is based on relationships and establishes the social position.  The best example of this is seen when a non Aboriginal person is adopted into their society.  The Aborigine who accepts the adoptee names them mother/father, daughter/son, or sister/brother to create a kinship relation that allows them to have a defined space within their social order (Welch, n.d.).

Interesting Fact: Across the entire Australian continent, Aboriginal custom bans both men and women  from talking to their mother-in-law.  A third person must be used to do the talking for them.  Distance is used to help avoid communicate.  At night, the mother-in-law has a separate camp fire  from the daughter-in-law or son-in-law.  Only their daughter, son, or grandchild may come over to chat and act as the “go- between”  (Welch, n.d.).

LEARNING

Out in the Bush: Due to the often great distance between state funded schools and Aboriginal locations, learning is even less formal in these populations.  These children are typically not required to maintain a strict education.  According to Dr. Brooke Scelza, who has worked with the Martu Aboriginal group in Western Australia, a basic math and reading education primarily in English can be found by simply playing shop and counting out change.  They also take trips out into the “bush” to study flora and fauna, visit swimming holes and foraging areas.  Further  informal education is given to children through storytelling by the elders over winter fires.  The recounting of historical and spiritual lore has ensured the culture of the tribe is passed on (Arts & Humanities Research Council, n.d.).

Higher Education: A major difference between attending a four year university in Australia versus a university in the US is the fact that general education classes in the university are not required (Simons, n.d.).  Instead the classes are geared specifically towards the student’s chosen career or field of interest.  The learning environment is also uniquely structured towards independent learning.  There is much less contact between the professor and student in the classroom setting.  This means less homework, less assignments, and less quizzes.  Instead, the requirements involve essay writings, one presentation, and a rare exam  (Simons, n.d.).

WORK HABITS/PRACTICES

Business Culture in Australia is predominately conservative in attire and behavior.  Dark business suits and ties are worn by men while the women wear dresses or skirts and blouses.  Punctual arrival to business functions is a must and shaking hands is considered appropriate for greeting and when departing (Taylor, 2008).  Modesty is essential when presenting your business.  It is considered disrespectful to make presentations or sales pitches filled with propaganda,  listing awards/achievements, or academic qualifications (Network for Living Abroad, 2010).  Australians tend to bring humor into a situation that they deem is too serious, so casual conversations that stick to the facts without tedious amounts of details is valued for communicating in the business environment (Taylor, 2008).  Yet the decision making process itself is usually quite structured. Following the chain of command  is respected, along with pertinent rules and regulations; at times this can seem to greatly slow progression or development (Network for Living Abroad, 2010).

Work vs. Play: Unlike Americans, when Australians leave the work environment they tend to completely embrace their freedom.  When it’s time to relax and have fun they take it seriously and don’t want to amuse themselves with conversations about work (Network for Living Abroad, 2010).

THE CULTURE IN THE US:


Statistics: A relatively high percentage of Australians live outside of their native country.  According to the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, in 2001/2002there were106,000 Australian’s living in the United States.  The demographics show that those who move to the US are typically older in age and more likely to be male than those who moved to the UK.  Typically these men are in the midst of their career cycle.  They are also highly educated with higher than average skills that usually results in full time employment in the US.  The occupations most filled by these individuals are:  Various professionals, managers and administrators, and intermediate clerical positions (Australian, 2004).

Why Move Here?: The US is a big draw for Australians because of the opportunities to make over twice as much of a salary as compared to the same position in their native country.   Research of these Australians has found that many hope to one day return to Australia once they reach retirement age.  In the meantime, they hope to benefit from:  Professional and international career development, more flexible employment opportunities, and the escape from Australia’s high income tax (Australian, 2004).

Relationship with Their Culture: Australians are generally proud to identify themselves with their native country.  Many report missing their Australian lifestyle but do not miss their former working situation (Australian, 2004).

HEALTH WATCH:  AUSTRALIA

As a nation it is very apparent that Australians care deeply about their well-being. The territories and states of Australia have made the health of their country a priority and solidify the message of universal health care by government endorsement and campaigns. The most recent National Healthcare Agreement was implemented in 2008 and  focuses on the needs of communities and more specifically, patients and their families. The purpose is geared toward educating the communities of Australia  to increase disease prevention and also to teach that you should not just treat an illness but have the knowledge to discuss with others resources available and methods to avoid illness.

CURRENT CONCERNS & CAMPAGNS THAT PROVIDE PREVENTION & EDUCATION

Tobacco Addiction: Tobacco is the first leading contributor to drug addiction in Australia. As a Nation Australia is working hard to show first hand the end results of smoking.  To reach its population graphic pictures and stories from real life smokers have been saturated on Australian radio and TV commercials. The overall message is not meant to scare its population but catch the attention of its audience in hopes of prevention for Australians who have not began to smoke and to stop the habit of current smokers.

To view campaign please click here:

http://www.quitnow.info.au/

Alcohol misuse & abuse: Alcohol is one of the leading causes of mortality and morbidity in Australia and affects people of all ages (Chikritzhs, T,). The outcome of alcohol abuse is harmful short tem and long term as it can affect not only the person drinking but also harm innocent bystanders. To emphasize        the importance of responsible drinking outreach has to Australians has been possible through the “Don’t Turn a Nightout into a Nightmare” Campaign. This campaign provides resources online for Australians younger then 18, 18+, parents, and Indigenous people. The overriding theme is to illustrate the health outcomes, inititatves, costs, and moral issues associated with intoxication.

To view campaign please click here: http://www.drinkingnightmare.gov.au/internet/DrinkingNightmare/publishing.nsf

** For more info  on how parents deal with children who suffer from asthma please scroll down to “current research” **

Overweight & Obesity In 2007-2008, 61.4% of the Adult Australian population are either overweight or obese and 24.9% of Australian children aged 5 – 17 years are overweight or obese (Australian Government Department of Health and Aging, 2010). The Australian government is working hard to prevent an obesity epidemic in their country through as initiatives that are available for adult men and women and their children.  To ensure that this plan is made a reality a website by the Australian government has been developed. Easy to use and at no cost to its users you can find resources to measure your BMI, recommendations an guidelines to physical activity and healthy eating, as well as free local workshops and resources.

To view campaign please click here: http://www.healthyactive.gov.au/internet/healthyactive/publishing.nsf/Content/home

Sexual Transmitted Diseases: In 2008 over 70,000 STD cases were reported and currently in 2010 STD’s are a climbing problem in Australia (Australian Government, Department of Health and Aging, 2008). The population I most at risk to acquire a sexually transmitted infection are those between the ages of 15-29 (Australian Government Department of Health and Aging, 2008). The Australian government is realistic in understanding that they cannot stop people from engaging in sex thus their campaign to prevent STD’s is heavily weighted towards using a condom every time one participates in a sexual encounter. The hopes of this is to not encourage sex with multiple partners but to open communication to younger adults as to why STD’s are spreading in Australia and the alternatives available to prevent the spread of infection.

To view campaign please click here:

www.australia.gov.au/STI

Cancer Prevention (Skin): Australia have the highest rate of skin caner in the world and are four times more likely to develop skin cancer then any other type of cancer             (cite source). To overcome this very real fact the government has implemented a National Skin Cancer Awareness for the past four years. This campaign focuses on FIVE main ways to protect yourself from over exposure to sun which are to seek shade,  cover as much as your body with clothing, wear a hat that shades your face, neck, & ears, wear sunglasses that provide maximal protection and lastly to apply SPF 30 every two hours when you are outside.

To view campaign please click here: http://www.skincancer.gov.au/internet/skincancer/publishing.nsf/Content/home

Rapid increase in Aging Population: According to the 2008-2009 annual health report on aging Australians there are over two million Australians age 70 and over (Australian Government Department of Health and Aging, 2008).  Currently these two million older adults make up 10% of Australians population and this number is only expected to increase over the years (Australian Government Department of Health and Aging, 2008). With this in mind a serious discussion in regards to healthcare and residency within communities will continued to be addressed. Currently, to respond to this need the Department of Health & Aging demanded an increase of construction for institutions that provide assistance to older adults.

To view full report please click here:

http://www.health.gov.au/internet/annrpt/publishing.nsf/Content/annual-report-0809-toc~0809-over

Chronic Respiratory Illness (Asthma): According to Asthma in Australia 2008, the overall prevalence of Asthma is high even by international standards (Australian Government Department of Health and Aging, 2008).  Asthma is more common with Aboriginals then non-Aboriginals due to lack of resources to corticosteroids and education of maintenance and prevention. This disadvantage also causes more asthma-related deaths to the Aboriginal population in comparison to the non-Aboriginal. To reduce this prevalence as a nation the government has implemented funding for studies to be executed to pinpoint the pathogenesis and populations it is affecting. It is the hope of the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare that through the establishment of the Australian System of Monitoring Asthma a clear and reliable campaign can be developed to further educate the population of their nation.

To view the full report please click here:

http://www.aihw.gov.au/publications/acm/aia08/aia08.pdf

** For more info  on how parents deal with children who suffer from asthma please scroll down to “current research” **

CURRENT RESEARCH STUDIES

‘EXPERIENCES OF AUSTRALIAN PARENTS CARING FOR CHILDREN WITH ASTHMA: IT GETS EASIER’

Main Objectives:The purpose of this study was to research how Australian parents coped with their kids who suffered from Asthma. Furthermore, the study investigated which resources parents sought out for management of Asthma as well as emotional support.

Methods: Participants in this study were recruited from 65 General Practitioners from 32 different clinics in Melbourne, Australia. The client population was sent an invitation to partake in this study if their children were between the ages of 2-14 and diagnosed with asthma.  Overall, 362 families completed an initial questionnaire and a follow up questionnaire six months later. From the 362 participants, twenty-two families were asked to partake in a randomized control study to further caregivers coping methods when their children suffered from asthma.

Results: The results of this investigation broke down into underlying themes to further explain the impact asthma had on caregivers.

Theme 1: Emotions & Behaviors- Caregivers expressed the common emotion of constant worry in regards to their child with asthma. In between asthma attacks parents worries that if another flare up occurred it may be at a time when they were not with them. Parents also expressed that as their children got older the feelings of worry and anxiety became less as they felt confident in their Childs ability to care for themselves.

Theme 2: Coping Strategies-Parents report that the best methods for coping with their situations especially when a child was having an asthma attack was to remain calm, seek social support as well as the support of medical attention. The medical attention from the emergency department and general practitioners was reported as comforting and they felt at this time the MD’s understood the seriousness of their children’s asthma.

Theme 3: Disruption of Activities-Parents expressed the amount of disruption asthma brought to their family as common. Anytime a vacation             was in store extra preparation for the child with asthma needed to be made. The constant worry of an asthma flare up greatly affected the activities of daily living in these families.

Theme 4: Health & Treatment Beliefs-Caregivers mostly adhered to the appropriate medication protocol for their children however, hesitancy was common in inhalers that contained steroids. Parents worried about the effects of long-term use and disliked the side affect of fatigue and shaking it seemed to have on their children

Theme 5: Difficulties in Asthma Management- Parents of children with asthma report their distress when administering asthma medications to their children. With young kids they report that it is difficult to know if they inhaled the medication in the appropriate way.

Discussion

The overlaying themes indicate that when dealing with a child with asthma patience, preparation and knowledge of medications is of the utmost importance. Parents also strongly reinforced the feeling that the older the children grew the easier it was to care for their asthma and the less stress was reported. This investigation provides key insight on how Australian parents dealt with children who have asthma. Since asthma is one of the most prominent chronic respiratory illness in Australia it is important to highlight the current experiences caregivers have had so as a nation they can maintain a foundational knowledge of the education that should be provided as well as continue to strive and produce needed resources to victims and caregivers of those who suffer from asthma.

‘PATTERNS OF ALCOHOL USE AND RELATED HARMS FOR AUSTRALIAN STATES AND TERRITORIES’

Main Objectives: The purpose of this investigation was to conduct a trial in a school-based environment that evaluated interventions for alcohol misuse

in adolescents and the programs effectiveness.

Methods: To carry out this study a randomized control trial was conducted at sixteen different high schools in Australia. Eight high schools would receive alcohol awareness education by methods of Clinical Management and Treatment Education model (CLIMATE) while the other eight high school received the normal curriculum taught in all Australian school through the Personal Development, Health and Physical Education Class (PDHPE). Participants in this investigation were in eighth grade and took an initial self-report questionnaire that assessed their baseline knowledge of alcohol consumption then two other questionnaires were administered immediately after the interventions and then six months after that.

Results: In regards to educational awareness about alcohol there was a dramatic difference in the CLIMATE group versus the PDHPE group. Those in the CLIMATE group tested better on the questionnaires immediately after the intervention and at the six month follow up.  In comparison to the traditional teaching through PDHPE the climate groups also demonstrated significance in behavior changes and attitudes towards alcohol misuse.

Discussion: Currently in Australia there is a high prevalence rate of Australian youth participating in the misuse and abuse of alcohol. It would be in the benefit of Australia as a nation to adopt the CLIMATE module to its 8th grade curriculum as it has demonstrated its effectiveness in this study. By doing so, it could decrease the patterns of alcohol abuse that is of current nature to children at this age.

“Primary prevention of skin cancer: a review of sun protection in Australia and internationally”

Main Objectives: The purpose of this research article was to analyze recent data relating to skin cancer primary preventive behavior in Australia and other countries. Australia has the highest rate of skin cancer in the world, the goal of this study was to better understand preventative activities of the general population.

Methods: To carry out this study a systematic review was conducted using Medline and Psychlit databases. They were searched from January 1990 to June 2003 for English-language papers including at least one of the following terms: ‘skin cancer’ or ‘skin neoplasm’ or ‘melanoma’, and at least one of the terms ‘prevention’ or ‘protection’ or ‘education’. The bibliographies of articles were also searched for additional relevant studies. This review focused on the prevalence of preventive activities, not on outcomes of interventions to increase preventive activities.

Results: The most widely used sun protectant agent in Australia is sun-screen. However, children and adolescent behavior concerning use of sun screen depended largely on parental advice. Children who were not adequately protected against the sun had a strong correlation with parents who did not adequately protect themselves from the sun. In adults, women are more likely to use sun screen then men. In some, knowledge about the dangers of sun exposure and skin cancer encouraged them to use sun screen, but much of the study population was aware of the danger of skin cancer. Adult females were more knowledgeable about skin cancer as compared to adult males. Men and younger people have greater rates of exposure as compared to females and older adults.

Discussion: Across all age groups sun screen is the most widely used skin protectant against the sun. However, recommendations suggest that this form of protection should be used as an adjunct to other more natural forms of protection. In comparison, the use of hats, shirts, shade and other sun protection aids was less common in most individuals. Prevention campaigns in Australia have successfully increased the awareness of people about the potential harm of overexposure to the sun. Nonetheless, this study indicates that the relationship between knowledge, sun protective behavior and the mediating effect of sun protective attitudes and attitudes towards tanning and sunbathing are still not fully understood. This study suggests that campaign messages should focus on at risk age groups in addressing the importance of taking necessary preventive action against sun exposure and skin cancer.

Hepatitis C Population

A research study published just four years ago focused solely on individuals in Australia who suffer from  Hepatitis C.   Over half of the subjects who participated in the study had contacted the virus from injection based drug use and 64% had experienced some sort of discrimination, primarily in the healthcare setting (Hopwood, Treloar & Bryant, 2006).  These researchers recommended changes in the way healthcare providers worked with Hepatitis C patients.  There was great concern over the possible discouragement of patients from following through with their health care and the increased risk these patients may pose in further spreading of  the virus (Hopwood, Treloar & Bryant, 2006).  During the 5th Australasian Conference the issue of Hepatitis C discrimination was presented as a major societal issue.  A proposal was made to specifically address these individuals and the human rights they are entitled to.  Their current aim is to reduce the vulnerability that these individuals experience and promote health while reducing the harm they are being subjected to in the healthcare setting (Tarantola, 2006).

Cultural Taboos

Other than the almost universally accepted taboos, such as incest and murder, there were only a couple of linguistic taboos discovered that are unique to Australia.

These are words to avoid like an infected intertriginous fold on a giant naked mole rat. First, the word “Fanny”, which in America innocently refers to a person’s rear-end; synonymous with buttocks, tushie, rumpus, the “out”-end, and possibly fundament cheeks. In Australia, “fanny” refers to a certain private member of female anatomy, synonymous with “vajayjay” or “what-sa-ma-whozit”. Please don’t use the word “fanny” in polite conversation. Second, the word “to root”, as in “root for your favorite team” has a distinct and reserved meaning “to have sex”. An example of what an American should NEVER say while visiting Australia, for example at a sports event, is as follows: “My fanny is sore because we were sitting in the stands rooting for our team all day” (Worner, 2008). You have been warned.

Some differences between Australia and the U.S.A

  1. The government in Australia is extremely invasive – thus the reason so many Australians choose to work outside of the country.
  2. Even though Americans and Australians both speak English, the style and usage is much different.
  3. Australians have high expectations for meals to be eaten as
    a family. In the US although it is a wonderful tradition families do not often sit at the table to have dinner together. Television, internet, and cell phones have taken over in the U.S.A in many places. The same can be side for Australia but not as widespread.
  4. Major sports in Australia are Rugby, Soccer, and Cricket. In the U.S.A some of the most widely watched sports are Baseball, Football, and Basketball.
  5. Australia healthcare is primarily run by the government, with some minimal privatized insurance offered.
  6. Living in the southern hemisphere means that Australians have summer from December to February and winter from June to August.

5 things a nurse should be conscience of in order to provide best patient care to an Australian

  1. Be aware that Australians are familiar with a socialized form of healthcare, therefore, if an Australian is in a country with privatized run healthcare it may be necessary to educate them on the differences between government run socialized medicine and privatized medicine.
  2. Healthcare professionals should be aware that Australians are direct their thoughts and entertain a blunt form of humor. This may come off as offensive, but it is just a normal form of expression of Australians.
  3. Australians maintain an extremely humble attitude and are not overly responsive to talking about themselves. Furthermore, this may create an obstacle in gathering an explanation of medical history and symptoms pertaining to their illness.  Australians are not receptive to lengthy education when it involves their own illness and disease, therefore, explanations should be kept brief and concise by healthcare professionals–.
  4. When working with an Australian, a Nurse should adhere to their own set of cultural influences while still maintaining and open attitude to new ideas. Australians appreciate genuine individuality and are disrespected when someone tries to develop a rapport by adapting to their lingo.
  5. As a Nurse, be aware that within the Australian Aboriginal culture it is customary for married to individual to never engage in direct conversation with their mother-in-laws. This is a rule for both males and females, and they respect and hold a definition of family that is unique to their culture.

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Last Edited: 3/28/2010

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