The Changing Image of Australian Nursing Essay

3950 Words Apr 30th, 2011 16 Pages
The Changing Image of Australian Nursing

Jacqueline Bloomfield
RN, CM, Dip App.Sci (Nur), BN, Grad Cert Onc Nur, Grad Dip Midwifery, MN, MCN (NSW).

The way in which the public perceives nursing significantly influences nurse�s role performance, job satisfaction and occupational expectations. The public image of Australian nursing has been subject to a plethora of influencing factors since health-care services were first established in this country over two centuries ago, Since its colonial origins, when considered an occupation suitable only for the socially outcast, nursing has evolved through decades of changes and reform. From a position of significant oppression and medical subservience, generations of Australian
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During the period, Florence Nightingale was universally recognised for the contributions to the reformation of nursing in Britain and her views in all matters relating to nursing, health, hospitals and public welfare were widely sought from all corners of the globe (Brodsky, 1968).

Advances in medical knowledge and technology had also begun to effect nursing practice. The discoveries of anaesthetics, disease pathophysiology, and the benefits of aeseptic technique had led the medical authorities to demand improvements in nursing in order to improve patient outcomes and survival rates (Keneley, 1988). As a result, Miss Lucy Osburn was appointed Lady Superintendent of the Sydney Infirmary and set out to reform nursing within the hospital based on Nightingale values. It was hoped that these changes would set a precedent for the improvement of nursing and its public image within other hospitals throughout Australia.

During her five years as Lady Superintendent at the Sydney Infirmary, Osburn�s most significant achievement was not just a significant improvement in standards o f nursing care, but her remarkable positive influence on how the public perceived nurses and their work. Lucy Osburn introduced the wearing of uniforms and adherence to strict hygiene standards for nurses, and also set the initial foundations for formal nurse training, incorporating formal lectures and teaching sessions into the daily hospital routine (Brodsky, 1968).

Once training for nurses

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