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New documentary film invites nurses to speak out

Eileen P. Williamson, MSN, RN

Eileen Williamson, MSN, RN

Recently I was asked to review a new documentary film sponsored by The Johnson & Johnson Campaign for Nursing’s Future, entitled “Nurses: Their Vital Role in Transforming Healthcare.” Set for release later this month, the half-hour film was produced by The Marketing Loft/Inovia Media Group and narrated by Joan Lunden, well-known journalist, writer and TV host.

Thought leaders who form a veritable “Who’s Who” in nursing, including Susan Hassmiller, Peter Buerhaus, Geraldine “Polly” Bednash, Beverly Malone, Diane Mancino, Judith Haber and others, provide some of the film’s amazing interviews and commentary. It also has vignettes introducing newer nurses and highlighting the major impact they’re having on the frontlines of care. Both groups share their perspectives on the challenges our profession faces and how we can work to meet them. Their voices raise the volume on nurses’ contributions and on the education, skills, compassion and passion nursing requires. Viewers see the beautiful ways in which nurses serve and care for their patients, and they hear our leaders speak eloquently about the profession, referring to their colleagues as the “glue” that holds healthcare together and the “mainstays” of patient care.

The film underscores the special care triumvirate formed by the nurse, the patient and the family. Its scenes articulate how nurses work with one another and other colleagues in interprofessional collaboration. I love the poignant close-up moments, filming techniques, interviewing styles and Lunden’s narration of the real-life nurse/patient scenarios. It demonstrates the need for what nursing brings to the table — whether in an urban acute or rural community setting, or in the state of Washington, Montana or Vermont, home to three nurses highlighted in the film.

The documentary shines a light on the leadership, innovation and the change agent aspects of nursing and defines nursing’s important education and practice objectives of increasing advanced education; growing faculty numbers; removing NP barriers to practice; and helping nurses meet the 2010 IOM Report recommendation for practice at the full extent of their education and training.

As a nurse, I believe that to nurse is to educate, and the film emphasizes how central and crucial education is to everything we do as nurses. We are the largest and fastest growing segment of healthcare, and as healthcare delivery changes and moves out into the home and the community, our increased nursing autonomy will call even louder for expertise in educating our patients.

A documentary film review needs to provide an understanding of what the film is about; but it can also inform, influence, persuade and yes, educate.

The campaign is affording readers the opportunity to watch, download and embed the film in advance of its formal release on Nov. 18. I hope this review will prompt you to watch the documentary at and read its accompanying study guide. I hope it will engage, inform and move you as it did me; that it will help you to initiate discussion with others about the power of nursing; and that you’ll share the film with your colleagues, family and friends.

Follow #NursesVital on Twitter, visit Nursing Notes by Johnson & Johnson on Facebook and bookmark It will be well worth your time.

Eileen Williamson, MSN, RN, is senior vice president and chief nurse executive at

By | 2020-04-15T16:40:22-04:00 November 10th, 2014|Categories: Archived|Tags: |3 Comments

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