In the Media: New Documentary Aims to Give Realistic Portrayal of Nursing

    • November 8, 2012

Nurses are with us from birth until death, and at many, often difficult, times in between. Yet despite their presence in our lives, many know little about what they actually do as professionals.

A new documentary film about nursing raises that problem and aims to rectify it. Called Nurses: If Florence Could See Us Now, the film informs viewers about the important role nurses play not just as clinicians but also as educators, researchers, leaders and innovators. It illustrates the highs and lows of the job, as well as its tremendous impact on people’s lives, health and health care.

“Nurses are everywhere,” said Betty Nelson, PhD, RN, president and CEO of Informed Practice International, Inc., and an alumna of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Executive Nurse Fellows (ENF) program (2001-2004). “The average citizen is going to have an experience with a nurse at some point in his or her life, when he or she is most vulnerable. It’s important that our society has an opportunity to see the depth, breadth and scope of the nursing profession.”

The film premiered earlier this month in Los Angeles during a national conference hosted by the American Nurses Credentialing Center. It will also be made available to wider audiences, including nurses, health care leaders, policy-makers, patients and families, and the public.

The film was produced by On Nursing Excellence, a non-profit organization led by nurse volunteers who are committed to building a strong, empowered and engaged nursing workforce. It was produced in honor of the late Joyce Clifford, RN, PhD, FAAN, a renowned nurse leader and former member of the ENF program’s National Advisory Committee. It also honors recipients of the DAISY Award, which recognizes exceptional nurses in the field.

The film aims to offer a more accurate representation of the profession than can be found in television news and entertainment programs, says Kathy Douglas, RN, MHA, who directed the film on a volunteer basis. Douglas is founder and president of the Institute for Staffing Excellence and Innovation and its parent, On Nursing Excellence. A more realistic portrayal of nursing, she says, could raise awareness of nursing, elevate nursing in national debates about health and health care, and inspire more people to join the profession, which could help curb a looming nurse shortage.

“If people actually have a better understanding of what nurses do, then we would be better understood, not only by ourselves, but by the public and by politicians,” she said. “If people are aware of the breadth and depth of nursing, they will better understand the value of nursing and the contributions nursing can make to meeting the health care challenges we are facing.”

Watch the trailer here.