“Am I just a nurse?”

“Am I just a nurse?” – Australian nurse’s powerful Facebook post goes viral

Caitlin Brassington, 38, a registered nurse from Toowoomba has made headlines around the world after posting a moving open letter on Facebook.

Stopping at a shop in her scrubs after work, she had run into an old acquaintance who had never seen her in uniform and said she didn’t realise she was “just a nurse”.

 “Wow! Over my 18 year career I have heard this phrase many, many times, but today it got to me. Am I just a nurse?” she wrote.

“I have held patients hands and ensured their dignity while they take their last breath, and yet I am just a nurse. I have performed CPR on patients and brought them back to life, and yet I am just a nurse.I am the medical officer's eyes, ears and hands with the ability to assess, treat and manage your illness, and yet I am just a nurse.”

When a nurse is not ‘just a nurse’

It’s an eloquent reminder of the importance of nurses and one that has captured global attention, receiving over 22,000 likes and sparking hundreds of comments from people sharing their own experiences of nurses and midwives who had gone the extra mile for them.

“Medical care wouldn’t be possible without your work, ‘just a nurse’ is what makes just the difference,” read one comment.

“Perhaps it was ‘just a slip of the tongue’ – but really, as a community, should we not be embracing everyone's careers, and not be making assumptions of their worth or value based on their job title?” she told the ABC. “Would this lady have said ‘just a …’ to me had I been wearing a suit and heels, instead of scrubs and my very unflattering but necessary nurses' shoes?”

It’s a sad truth that despite nurses consistently being named the most trusted profession by the community, they are not always recognised that way.

“We are not a profession that very often stands up and says: ‘Look at me – tell me what a good job I am doing,’” Caitlin said.

There are 360,000 nurses across our hospitals and nursing homes, but over forty per cent are now aged over 50 according to the Australian Institute of Health & Welfare – if we want more people to fill their shoes when they retire, we need to show them the same acknowledgement and gratitude in these comments.

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A special thanks to our contributors

Caroline Egan

DCM Media, agedcare101

Caroline has a wealth of experience writing within the retirement and aged care sector and is a contributing journalist for the Villages.com.au and agedcare101 blog and accompanying newsletters.

Ian Horswill


Ian is a journalist, writer and sub-editor for the aged care sector, working at The DCM Group. He writes for The Weekly Source, agedcare101, villages.com.au and the DCM Institute fortnightly newsletter Friday. Ian is in daily contact with CEOs of retirement living, land lease and the aged care operations and makes a new contact every week. He investigates media releases, LinkedIn and Facebook for a good source for ideas for stories.

Lauren Broomham

Retirement and Aged Care Journalist

Lauren is a journalist for villages.com.au, agedcare101 and The Donaldson Sisters. Growing up in a big family in small town communities, she has always had a love for the written word, joining her local library at the age of six months. With over eight years' experience in writing and editing, she is a keen follower of news and current affairs with a nose for a good story.

Jill Donaldson


Jill has been practicing as a clinical physiotherapist for 30 years. For the last 13 years she has worked solely in the Aged Care sector in more than 50 metropolitan and regional facilities. Jill has also toured care facilities in the US and Africa and is a passionate advocate for both the residents in aged care and the staff who care for them. She researches and writes for DCM Media.

Chris Baynes

DCM Media, agedcare101

Chris has been a journalist and publisher in the retirement village and aged care sectors for 11 years. He has visited over 250 retirement villages and 50 aged care facilities both within Australia and internationally. Chris is a regular speaker at industry conferences plus is a frequent radio commentator.

Annie Donaldson

Nurse and Carer

Annie has a long career in both nursing and the media. She has planned and co-ordinated the medical support from both international TV productions and major stadium events. In recent years she has been a primary family carer plus involved in structured carer support.