About Frances 

Dr Frances Hughes is a Registered Nurse and General Manager of Oceania Healthcare Nursing and Clinical. She has been nursing since 1976.

Dr Frances Hughes, RN, BA, MA, DNurs, CNZM

 
Imagine a future where the voice and visibility of nursing is in proportion to the importance and size of nursing in the healthcare sector.
 
Imagine a future where nurses are sought out by patients and nursing advice is valued by decision makers. 
 
Imagine patients and their families have a nursing app on their phone or on their watch, where they can dial a nursing consult, book in a home visit, discuss everything from spiritual to physical issues.
 
Nurses teach and support everything from mediation to health literacy. Social change is driven by the advocacy and drive of nurses.
 
It’s possible and closer than many may think.
 
It will take a concerted effort by nurses to continue breaking through the outdated images and beliefs about nurses being only compassionate bedside carers. 
 
As a profession, it’s time for us to bring into the public domain the complexity and specialised nature of our roles.
 
We need to seize the moment and communicate and disseminate our evidence on what makes a difference to health care and thus our communities.
 
I aim for a future of nursing where the experienced and evidenced-based advice of nurses is considered in health care policy making and service management.
 
Nurses are vocal and assertive contributors whose views are listened to and respected at tables of power with the top levels of government, corporate and academia. 
 
Journalists in the mainstream media would have contact lists detailing a full range of specialist nurses, academics, researchers and major nursing organisations.  
 
We’d be involved in discussions, interviews and community debate about developments and impacts in health care. 
 
Articles on health care issues and analysis authored by nurses would appear in The Australian, Economist and Business Today to expand the knowledge and point of view of journalists and the public.
 
The perception that medical research is only a scientific endeavour would change, so nursing research is respected and valued to a high level. 
 
Health experts, policy makers and the public would see nursing research as a dynamic field that expands knowledge about health care and the human condition. We would be viewed as the beside scientist.
 
As the public became aware of our role in health care, their interest would create fund raising activities for research agendas led by nurses , this would result in increased government and private funding for our investigation and reporting of facts and new conclusions around healthcare services and systems.
 
Nurses would be actively sought to speak in a broad spectrum of forums on healthcare in community centres, town meetings, state and territory capitals, churches, schools, universities, consumer and patient organisations, and economic conferences.
 
By working in partnership with patients, their families and carers and promoting health literacy, nurses enable patients and the community to take a greater role in their health and wellbeing. 
 
This leads to full awareness of the vital function nurses play in the health care system to achieve patient recovery.
 
Ultimately this would lead to recognition that while it takes education and expertise to perform surgery, it also takes education and expertise to care for a patient following surgery. 
 
Patients would more easily understand that nurses have specialist expertise like physicians. And they are entitled to readily expect and request from their health insurers and health services to have access to nurses, midwives or nurse proceduralists best educated and experienced in the relevant treatments and care. 
 
Hospitals would place greater value on the nursing workforce, alleviating ideas of the workforce being inexpensive, easily replaceable or interchangeable.
 
Similarly, attempts to reduce nursing staff or substitute registered nurses for less trained and unregulated personnel as a means for dealing with budget problems, would evoke public outcry. 
 
This would all influence budget allocations, signalling an increase in funds for nurse education and nursing research.
 
In the future I see for nursing, nursing shortages, inadequate skill mix, lack of nursing at top tables of health care services, boardrooms and governments are challenges of health care systems that we have overcome. 
 
We would all know our human health and wellbeing depend not only on medically necessary care, but on nursing necessary care. 
 
The goals we set would ensure our actions are aligned with our deepest values, the future of our communities 

 
 

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