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Recovery in our bones: the story of Martha Entwistle, Australia’s earliest convict mental health nurse


Raeburn, T and Liston, C and Hickmott, J and Cleary, M, Recovery in our bones: the story of Martha Entwistle, Australia's earliest convict mental health nurse, ACMHN 43rd International Mental Health Nursing Conference, 25-27 October 2017, Hobart, Tasmania (2017) [Conference Extract]

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This paper presents the remarkable life story of Martha Entwistle, the first convict mental health nurse to have worked in Australia’s earliest mental health asylum at Castle Hill, NSW. Primary historical sources from archival collections in Australia and the United Kingdom, reveal that Martha Entwistle was a resilient woman who experienced many traumatic life experiences herself prior to being involved in the care provided at Castle Hill. Although difficult to compare with modern day conceptualisations of nursing, Martha was not paid for her work, but her services as a nurse within the asylum were highly valued by the superintendent of the service. She nursed in a harsh colonial environment, short of adequate resources, during an era of fast-paced social, economic and technological change. Martha Entwistle’s experiences provide a historical account of the role and what it was like to be an early convict mental health nurse and there are parallels between Martha’s role as a mental health nurse and the role of today’s nurses. This account of Martha Entwistle’s life will enables nurses to reflect on the advances made in mental health nursing and contemporary models of care.

Item Details

Item Type:Conference Extract
Keywords:asylum, convict, history, mental health, nurse.
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Health services and systems
Research Field:Mental health services
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Public health (excl. specific population health)
Objective Field:Mental health
UTAS Author:Cleary, M (Professor Michelle Cleary)
ID Code:121561
Year Published:2017
Deposited By:Health Sciences
Deposited On:2017-10-03
Last Modified:2017-10-03

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