Values of The Exceptional Nurse Bruce herself embodies these values. She is a patron of TEN (The Exceptional Nurse) campaign, which envisages exceptional nursing care practised by compassionate, committed, competent and courageous professionals in every hospital and clinic in South Africa. “If nurses are ‘the backbone’ of public health, why are they treated like the coccyx!” says Bruce indignantly, who decries the patriarchy and disrespect that persists, particularly between doctors and nurses. Bruce can’t but help be immersed in the politics of nursing, stakeholders in which have recognised her expertise – she was previously appointed to the Ministerial Task Team on Nursing Education and Training, and was a member of the Standing Committee on Health of the Academy of Science of South Africa. Nurses make up the largest cadre of healthcare workers and are essential for a strong and responsive health system. Bruce says it is high time to see a nurse in the role of Minister of Health.