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Video Clip Synopsis:
Nurses are frantic as they rush from patient to patient, working under increased patient-to-nurse ratios. Despite this increased pressure, they try not to compromise the quality of their nursing care.

1min 36sec

Is Squeezing Nursing Healthy? is an excerpt from the film Land of the Long Weekend (55 mins), produced in 1994.

Land of the Long Weekend: Australia was the first country in the world to institute a 40-hour working week. It was the first to say there was such a thing as a fair and reasonable wage. Conditions like these helped win Australia its reputation as the mythical land of the long weekend. Yet today, for those with work, overtime has increased and penalty rates are disappearing. The nation’s population is increasingly divided between the over-worked and the under-employed. Now that Australia is more the land of the level playing field than the land of the long weekend, have we abandoned the idea of the “fair go”?

Land of the Long Weekend is a Film Australia National Interest Program.

Study Module

Curriculum Focus: SOSE/HSIE
Year: 9-10
Strand: Social systems
Theme: Gender & Work

Key Concepts

Gender; Fair and reasonable society; Health

Curriculum Applicability Notes

NSW:7-10 History Stage 5 Topic 6
NT:Social systems and structures — Band 5, Values, beliefs and cultural diversity
Qld:1-10 Society and environment — Systems, resources and power SRP5.3
SA:Society and environment — Societies and culture 5.7, 5.8, 5.9; Social systems 5.10, 5.11
Tas:Personal futures — Building and maintaining identity and relationships
Social responsibility — Building social capital, Valuing diversity
Vic:History Level 6 SOHI0601

Context / Background Information

Nursing in Australia has long been a female-oriented and a relatively poorly-paid occupation.

Although nursing is a demanding job, many people become nurses because they gain great satisfaction from caring for others. For them, nursing is a vocation.

But, like all industries, hospitals are under pressure to run in a more economically efficient way and to reduce costs.

If nurses are put under too much stress or pressure, they can make mistakes, and these mistakes can be life threatening to the patients and devastating for the nurse.

When nurses are allocated little time for each patient they can also feel emotionally stressed. They want to feel the satisfaction of caring for others and it is often difficult to hurry ill people.

What happens when those who are caring for the sick are too tired or too sick themselves? Where does the responsibility for patient care lie – with the health care professionals or with hospital management?

Discussion Pointers

  1. What does the video clip show?
  2. What are the messages of the video clip?
  3. How does the filmmaker get these messages across?
  4. Is this a neutral, informative video; or a partisan one that seeks to support a particular view? Use evidence from the video clip to support your answer.

Suggested Classroom Activities

  1. Australians like to believe that we have a fair and reasonable society. Does the situation presented in the video clip challenge that view? Explain your reasons.
  2. Using this video clip, prepare a set of arguments for a campaign for better wages and conditions for nurses.
  3. Research statistics through the Australian Bureau of Statistics to prepare a list of the most female-oriented professions. Suggest reasons why these occupations are female-oriented. Include in your research the average pay rate for females compared to males, both in the particular occupation, and generally.

Modules That Use This Clip

English Year 9-10, Health/PE Year 9-10, SOSE/HSIE Year 9-10