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Is Squeezing Nursing Healthy?

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.
Year of production - 1994
Duration - 1min 36sec
Tags - gender, health, nurses, see all tags


Is Squeezing Nursing Healthy?

How to Download the Video Clip

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About the Video Clip


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.

Curriculum Focus


This digital resource can be used to achieve the following outcomes:
H.3 A student develops language relevant to the study of English.
H.5 A student analyses the effect of technology and medium on meaning.
H.6 A student engages with the details of text in order to respond critically and personally.
H.7 A student adapts and synthesises a range of textual features to explore and communicate information, ideas and values for a variety of purposes, audiences and contexts.
H.9 A student assesses the appropriateness of a range of processes and technologies in the investigation and organisation of information and ideas.
H.12. A student reflects on own process of responding and composing.
H.12.1 A student reflects on own process of responding and composing by questioning meaning in and through texts.

This material is an extract. Teachers and students should consult the Board of Studies website for more information.

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?

Classroom Activities

    1. Discuss and identify the following aspects of the video clip.
      * Purpose
      * Message(s)
      * Intended audience
      * The point of view presented.
    2. Write a 100-word summary of the video clip incorporating your points from Q1a.
  1. Write a 300-word explanation of how the filmmaker conveys their message(s) using the following subheadings; subjects, dialogue, music and visual images.
    1. Create a poster that aims to recruit men into the nursing profession. Use at least five images and 200 words of text in your poster.
    2. Create and present a one-minute TV advertisement aimed at recruiting both men and women into the nursing profession. You will need to:
      * List visual images and their shot sizes and duration
      * List titles of music to be used
      * Write one page of script which can be voice-over or dialogue.

Literacy Activity: Focus=Analysing / Responding

  1. Explain the pun in the title, ‘Is Squeezing Nursing Healthy’. (1 mark)
  2. What are the new problems faced by the nursing profession? (1 mark)
  3. How do some of the images and the soundtrack create an impression of difficult / challenging situations? (3 marks)

Extension – This clip was made in 1994. Produce a follow up report on the state of nursing now using some of the issues raised in the clip as a guide for your report. (5 marks)