Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Faculty of Computing, Health and Science

First Advisor

Dr Kathy Ahem

Second Advisor

Professorf Geoffrey Bolton

Third Advisor

Dr Kate White


In Australia, stomal therapy nurses are registered nurses who have undertaken an educational programme in the care, counselling and rehabilitation of persons-who have, or who could potentially have, a wound, an ostomy (that is an artificial opening into a body cavity) or incontinence of bodily waste. The genesis of stomal therapy nurses in Australia as a specialty group within the broader nursing profession was in 1971, when 11 founding members established an association for registered nurses with an interest in the care of patients with stomas. However, the serendipitous event that pre-empted the formation of this special interest group, can be traced to an individual nurse's first clinical experience of caring for a patient with a stoma in 1959. The purpose of this study was to uncover the historical events that led to the development and evolution of stomal therapy nurses in Australia, and to describe the lived experiences of stomal therapy nurses within that historical context. The study employed two different qualitative methodological approaches. Separate historical and phenomenological studies were conducted and the uniqueness and philosophical foundations of both methodologies were preserved. The two independent studies stand alone in their sample population, data collection, data analysis and findings. The historical study findings opened a window to the past and revealed the persons, events and forces, that were instrumental in the development and evolution of stomal therapy nurses and nursing in Australia. The phenomenological study findings revealed the essence of what it is to be a stomal therapy nurse in Australia and a member of the Australian association of Stomal Therapy Nurses. Comparative and contextual analysis of the historical and phenomenological findings was then conducted in order to enhance the understanding of the phenomena. This comparative and contextual analysis of historical and phenomenological findings has been termed histro-phenomenology and this approach has revealed the key findings of this study. These key findings revealed an exciting insight into the professional characteristics that define a Good nurse and-the behaviours and attitudes that reflect the essence of Good nursing.

Included in

Nursing Commons