By Megan M. Krischke, contributor
October 10, 2012 - Who says that nurses’ contributions are always behind the scenes? Their roles are about to be front and center as the new documentary “Nurses: If Florence Could See Us Now” premiers in Los Angeles on Thursday, October 11, as part of the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) National Magnet Conference.
Kathy Douglas, RN, MHA, filmmaker of the new "Nurses" documentary, said that if people understood nurses better they would think about the profession in a different way.
The feature-length film, which is almost entirely comprised of unscripted interviews with nurses, was conceived by Kathy Douglas, RN, MHA, chief nursing officer for API Healthcare and founder and president of On Nursing Excellence (ONE), the nonprofit organization that produced the film.
“The film is never from any point of view other than that of the nurse. It is just nurses talking about how they feel about their work in a way that is authentic and spontaneous,” she said. “I wanted to capture the raw answers to questions like, ‘How does it feel to be a pediatric oncology nurse?’ or ‘What is it like to take your vacation time to volunteer in Haiti when you are already working so hard?’”
Douglas’s motivation for creating the film came largely from a sense that both the public and the policymakers needed to have a clear sense of the work nurses do--
especially during the current nationwide discussion of health care reform and the future of health care. She would very much like to see nurses at the table as policy decisions are being made.
“Also, I very much hope that nurses will watch the film and take some time to stop and feel proud of what they do and be re-inspired. I also hope that it might inspire more talented and wonderful people to choose the profession,” she remarked.
“The breadth and depth of what nurses are doing today is mind-boggling. I am trying to give the public a different view than what they see on TV shows or even the news,” she continued. “We don’t hear about all the good and extraordinary ways that nurses touch lives every day and I want to bring a view of that to the world.”
The movie begins with a bit of history, showing that the concept of nursing has always been a part of humankind--that people have always taken care of each other. Then it highlights how that developed into a profession and how that profession has evolved since the time of Florence Nightingale.
“We have come a long way from just sterilizing equipment and taking orders. There are nurses in Congress, nurses doing incredible research--individual and groups of nurses are changing the world,” Douglas explained.
Douglas notes that one of the most surprising moments for her in making the movie was during an interview with Karen Daley, president of the American Nurses Association (ANA).
“I hadn’t done a lot of background study on her and so when she told the story of how she contracted HIV from a needle prick and then worked to get a bill passed in Congress for safer devices, I was surprised and inspired. Nurses never stop giving, they take obstacles like a needle stick injury and go out and change the world,” she effused.
ANA President Karen A. Daley, PhD, RN, FAAN, said, "Nurses haven’t always been good about explaining what we do and why it is important. This movie is a vehicle to communicate that."
“I was thrilled to be part of this documentary,” began ANA’s Karen Daley, PhD, RN, FAAN. “This movie is so important because of the conversations our nation is having around health care. The film is devoted to shining a light on these quiet heroes and helping people in political and policy arenas to hear directly from the hearts and voices of nurses.”
“Nurses are an under-utilized workforce. The interaction between nurses and patients is powerful--no one else in health care has that proximity and connection with patients,” Daley continued. “As we reform health care, we need to utilize all of nurses’ skills--critical thinking, leadership and connection to patients. In the end it is about better health, better care and lowering the cost of health care. Nurses contribute to each of those critical aims in health care.”
“One of the key messages that comes out in the movie, starting with Florence, is that one person can make such a difference,” stated Douglas. “One interaction with a patient can be so transformational. Florence was just one person and, my goodness, she changed the world. There are stories of nurses helping someone live and helping someone die.”
“Nurses make a huge impact. It is nothing anyone should take for granted. It is extraordinary what nurses give to human beings,” she concluded.
View the movie trailer of "Nurses, If Florence Could See Us Now" on YouTube.
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