In an attempt to plug staffing gaps Victoria has started offering free degree places, but experts say this solution ignores the elephant in the room.
According to Dr Lesley Andrew from Edith Cowan University, nursing has become an unattractive career prospect that’s in dire need of redirection and reimaging.
“Nurses are seen in the role of old-fashioned and sexist ideas of women as conforming, obedient, and self-sacrificing,” she says.
“The idea of nurses as martyrs persists and are, in some ways, celebrated: nurses are ‘angels’ who sacrifice their own needs for others.
“And it’s really convenient for our governments to rely on this image of the nurse because then they can ignore issues of pay and poor working conditions that are just getting worse for our nurses.”
Nursing Review spoke with Andrew about how the occupation continues to be influenced by the image of the female as a martyr in the nursing profession.