Student nurses at university in Queensland will be required to study great works of literature to expose them to emotions they will confront when they go into clinics or hospitals.
Novels such as Emily Bront 's Wuthering Heights will be on the reading list for nursing students to help them understand the complexities of human relationships.
The faculty of health and behavioural sciences at Griffith University in Brisbane is to begin the programme next year in which nurses will read the works of renowned authors.
"Most first-year students come direct from school and may have restricted life experiences," Debra Creedy, the head of the university's school of nursing, said.
"Once they begin practical nursing in clinics they will be regularly confronting and having to cope with death, disfigurement, grief, sorrow and other deep emotions."
Wuthering Heights would be used to illustrate grief, misery and deep despair while New Zealand author Janet Frame's autobiography, An Angel at My Table, would be studied to explore her experiences as a patient in a mental hospital.
"This autobiography explores grief, loss, sexuality, mental illness and nurse-patient relationships," Ms Creedy said.
In the United States, nursing students completed components of an arts degree before specialising in nursing so that they were better prepared for the experiences they would have when they began to practise.