Swearing is a subject largely ignored in academic circles but impossible to ignore in the workplace. Nurses encounter swearing from patients and their carers, staff and managers and use swearwords in communication with each other. Language is the major tool of the mental health nurse and swearing an aspect of language frequently used in situations of intense emotion. This paper provides an overview of the historical, legal and cultural aspects of swearing in an Australian context in order to assist nurses in their practice.
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