Date of Award


Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Nursing MNurs


Faculty of Nursing and Health

First Advisor

Malcolm Anderson


This treatise explored the history of nursing within a radical feminist framework, encompassing the facets of women's history, the sex/gender system, men's and women's nature, women's language and the system of patriarchy. Through this framework the literature suggested that there was an impact on knowledge development in nursing settings, especially in the perioperative setting, because nursing was a female dominated profession in a patriarchal society. The literature shows that women as healers in history, were marginalised by the modern medical profession. Modern nursing, because of its female domination and the values of culture at the time of its inception, is based on the supposed feminine attributes of caring, nurturing and self sacrifice, and this makes it subject and subordinate to men, and in particular, male medicine. Women's perceived place in western society and the lack of women centred history have all impacted on knowledge development. In order to gain knowledge that would make it more powerful; nursing has emulated the empirical knowledge of medicine, as opposed to the aesthetic and personal knowledge that makes nursing the caring and patient centred profession it should be. To further examine the knowledge that nurses, and in particular perioperative nurses have developed, a qualitative historical approach is suggested. An historical design may be a useful approach to study the history and knowledge development of nurses from premises that are based on feminist values. This would include historical research based in women's language, with an emphasis on the impact of women's place in society, giving a rich, more complete and meaningful history of nursing and nursing knowledge in the perioperative realm.


Used by permission: the author

A print copy of this thesis is held in the Avondale College Library (Sydney SC 610.73069 ADL).

Included in

Nursing Commons