The practice of enlisting women as nurses in the organised medical services of an army at war is of relatively recent origin. Military nursing, as it is sometimes called, has its origins in the development of nursing stretching back over many centuries, a history in which religion, war and science have been interwoven in the development of the nursing profession. Civilian nursing has come a long way over more than twenty centuries of caring for the sick, at times stimulated by advances in war, at times facing periods of decline. In part, its development had to wait on advances in medicine and science to give it credibility, respectability, certainty and status. Through it all, religious orders gave the profession qualities of compassion, dedication and caring which are the very heart of nursing, whether in civil life or in the army. This story is concerned with the evolution of military nursing in the context of religion, war and medical science. In a sense it grew out of civilian nursing but in later years the two branches of the profession grew side by side, each gaining from the other. Nursing is one of the oldest activities of mankind, for the care of the sick, the nourishment of the young and the welfare of the older members of society have always been of concern to the family and to particular individuals and groups in society.
Queensland nurses will continue to make a valuable contribution to the Royal Australian Army Nursing Corps in the decades ahead, wherever the call of duty may lead them.