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A nurse’s review of ‘The American Nurse'

Tuesday May 6, 2014
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I can guarantee you’ll be moved — maybe even to tears — when you watch the documentary, “The American Nurse.” I’ve watched a special preview a number of times, and each time I am touched by something else I hear or see.

The film, distributed by DigiNext Films, came to be after internationally acclaimed photographer and filmmaker Carolyn Jones and producer Lisa Frank created the 2012 book, “The American Nurse,” which celebrates the work and lives of 75 nurses in diverse roles and settings across the country. Jones spent a year photographing and interviewing the nurses, and said her glimpse into the world of nursing was not what she expected. It made her want to know more about the people who were doing this incredible work.

In creating the documentary, Jones has given us all a wonderful gift. Set to launch during National Nurses Week, the film will be shown in Digiplex Destinations theaters across the country beginning May 8.

Jones brings us into the lives of five nurses from the book who speak from the heart about what they do and what inspires them to make a difference in the lives of others. We hear from patients and family members who tell their personal stories and express their admiration for and gratitude to the nurses who care for them.

But it’s not only what is said about giving and receiving nursing care that touches us. It’s that we’re right there, not just watching, but experiencing these nurses from five distinct settings as they deliver patient care. The film brings us to a place where we feel empathy, sadness, pride, joy and amazement for what our colleagues do to help others every day.

We understand the passion and empathy that Naomi Cross, RN, bereavement counselor at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, possesses as she supports women and their families through perinatal loss.

We relate to the life and joy Sister Stephen Bloesl, RN, BSN, director of nursing, Villa Loretto Nursing Home and Villa Rosa Assisted Living, Mount Calvary, Wis., portrays as she engages the old and young in animal therapy and activities on a farm located on the property.

We hear the satisfaction in the voice of Tonia Faust, RN, CCNM, hospice program coordinator, Louisiana State Penitentiary, Angola, as she provides end-of-life care to incarcerated individuals during their last days and months and supports the inmate volunteers who help in the hospice program.

Originally a mechanic by trade, Jason Short, RN, BSN, hospice nurse, Appalachian Hospice Care, Pikeville, Ky., travels roads that ambulances cannot navigate to care for patients at home and console family members of dying patients, with a kindness and sincerity we know are deep and real.

Brian McMillion, RN, MSN, MBA-HCM, coordinator, Caregiver Support Program, VA San Diego Healthcare System, cares for homeless veterans after having served as a medic in combat settings overseas. Driving his dedication to help his patients are the ties built by shared suffering, and we feel his fierce commitment and determination.

The “American Nurse” documentary is a must-see film that is worth every one of the nearly 80 minutes you will spend watching. It will fill your heart and soul with pride for our profession and the people who share it with you.


Janice Petrella Lynch, RN, MSN, is nurse editor/nurse executive. Send comments to editor@nurse.com or post comments below.
Free CE

In celebration of National Nurses Week, Nurse.com is delighted to offer 1.5 contact hours of free continuing education to nurses who view "The American Nurse" in theaters and at screenings at their schools or places of work beginning May 8, as well as by digital download and rental beginning June 1.

Visit www.Nurse.com/AmericanNurseMovie for details.

For theater showings, visit www.AmericanNurseMovie.com.