A personal essay on the role of the nurse

Linda Shields

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Abstract: Nursing has suffered a lack of understanding by the general public, who often can see no further than stereotypes of heroine, harlot, harridan or handmaiden. These have colored nursing’s development as a profession, in
Australia as in the rest of the world. Australia, as the ‘lucky country’ has one of the best health systems in the world, and Australian nurses are amongst those at the forefront of the profession. However, it appears that Australian nurses, as with many sections of Australian society, do not recognize that they hold high professional standards. With the influence of the international nursing shortage and the ever-growing technological advances within health care, alternatives to nurses, and to the registered nurse, are emerging. It is vitally important that nursing controls and regulates these developments. Only by protecting the legitimate role of the nurse, ensuring that education standards are maintained at the highest appropriate level, and generating and using new nursing knowledge will outcomes for all those who come to us for care be of the highest order. This essay proposes that Australian nurses need to overcome the ‘cultural cringe’ and recognize that they are in charge of a profession which meets the highest international standards.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)213-218
Number of pages6
JournalContemporary Nurse
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2013


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