skip to content
Ronin Films

Shop for a film


Year: 1990

Classification: PG

Runtime: 55 min

Produced In: Australia

Directed By: Rosalind Gillespie

Produced By: Rosalind Gillespie

Language: English

price includes GST and postage

Vimeo on demand

Throughout history, the perception of nurses has ranged from wise women to witches, sots to ministering angels, handmaidens to battleaxes. The professional role of the nurse has changed dramatically. Originally the nurse held an independent, curative position in healing the sick. Most of this responsibility has since been lost. In its place, a profession has developed which, while demanding altruism and dedication, is locked into a supportive and secondary role to that of the medical profession.

HANDMAIDENS AND BATTLEAXES asks the question, 'Why and how did this happen?'It probes why nursing evolved primarily as a women's profession. Importantly, it examines the psychological and sociological influences that have held the profession in check and fed the age old disregard for the work of the nurse.
The film gives a global picture of nursing, using Australia as a case study but with comparative input from American and British counterparts. It highlights the complex social, political and professional dilemmas faced by nurses today.

HANDMAIDENS AND BATTLEAXES uses rare archival footage, dramatic re-enactments, personal interviews and photographic stills collected from nursing colleges from three continents. These elements successfully combine to give insight into the reality of the nursing profession.

HANDMAIDENS AND BATTLEAXES will appeal to all those interested in the story of one of the most dedicated professional groups in today's workforce.

< Back to Homepage