1st Edition

Paradoxes in Nurses’ Identity, Culture and Image The Shadow Side of Nursing

By Margaret McAllister, Donna Brien Copyright 2020
    188 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    186 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book examines some of the more disturbing representations of nurses in popular culture, to understand nursing’s complex identities, challenges and future directions.

    It critically analyses disquieting representations of nurses who don’t care, who kill, who inspire fear or who do not comply with laws and policies. Also addressed are stories about how power is used, as well as supernatural experiences in nursing. Using a series of examples taken from popular culture ranging from film, television and novels to memoirs and true crime podcasts, it interrogates the meaning of the shadow side of nursing and the underlying paradoxes that influence professional identity. Iconic nursing figures are still powerful today. Decades after they were first created, Ratched and Annie Wilkes continue to make readers and viewers shudder at the prospect of ever being ill. Modern storytelling modes are bringing to audiences the grim reality that some nurses are members of the working poor, like Cath Hardacre in Trust Me, and others can be dangerous con artists, like the nurse in Dirty John.

    This book is important reading for all those interested in understanding the links between nursing’s image and the profession’s potential as an agent for change.

    1. Transgressive texts about nursing  2. Nursing’s dark past and secret knowledge  3. Objects of Desire  4. Nursing and the abject  5. Apparitions, lost souls and healing spaces  6. Mighty, Mean and Monstrous Nurses  7. Murdering nurses  8. Nurses and sick health care systems  9. Growing from adversity  10. Conclusion: Out of the shadows, into the light


    Margaret McAllister is Professor of Nursing at Central Queensland University, Australia. With a background in nursing, mental health nursing, education and cultural studies, Margaret teaches in the Master of Mental Health Nursing and has research expertise in Narrative Therapy and Narrative Research.

    Donna Lee Brien is Professor of Creative Industries at Central Queensland University, Australia. Co-editor of the Australasian Journal of Popular Culture, Donna’s research on writing and popular culture has been widely published in scholarly and popular publications.