Research Interest: Nurses and representation

Nurses are considered highly trustworthy by the public due to their virtues of care and compassion. However, the dominant representations of nurses in the media are often inaccurate, erasing male nurses from the profession and downplaying the autonomous judgement of the nursing professional. Nurses as feminised handmaidens play a subordinate support role to medical decision makers. The media nurse engages in bedside routines and repetitive tasks, and is sometimes a sex object, an angel of mercy or a battleaxe, sometimes all three. These stereotypical representations have changed over time, and sometimes nurses are depicted as strong and confident professionals (Kalisch et al., 1981; Stanley, 2008). Yet the significant professional, theoretical and scholarly innovations that have reshaped the role of nurses are largely invisible to the public (Ten Hoeve et al., 2014). In tandem with nursing’s processes of professionalisation, austerity measures in the neoliberal health system have demanded efficiency and cost containment, while also reorienting services so they can be more client- centred. This twin move to the proletarianisation of nursing care (through the growth of various classes of healthcare assistants doing tasks previously performed by nurses) and democratisation of health within a technocratic, market-led and more participatory health system has profound implications for the future of nursing. (for more see: De Souza, R. Journal of Research in Nursing
2017, Vol. 22(8) 597–598

The Nurses and Midwives’ Art Exchange

Collaborators: Kelly Hussey-Smith, Grace McQuilten, Fleur Summers, Mark Edgoose. Funding was received from ACN, CAST, Eastern Health (Peter Mellow), and Design and Creative Practice Enabling Capability Platform (RMIT University). This collaborative project named the Nurses and Midwives art exchange was an attempt to hear and amplify the collective voices of these professionals, whose views and […]