We have been quite taken with the English TV series Call the Midwife about a group of women nurses helping women give birth in a slum area of London during the 1950s. The camaraderie of these nurses, their sensitivity and skills, come across convincingly as they care for those in a wide variety of dramatic situations. In our own experience, when Frederic was in the hospital for a serious operation, it was the compassion, kindness, and good cheer of the nurses who looked after him who garnered his praise as "angels."
The documentary Nurses: If Florence Could See Us Now is directed by Kathy Douglas and features interviews with more than 100 nurses across the United States who day-by-day do their best to love, care, and look after patients with a variety of diseases and maladies. We hear praise for those who work with tiny babies and those who try to bring comfort to older people at death's door. One nurse describes how she collaborated with another in bringing a long-married couple together so they could die within 30 minutes of each other.
Most of these women (there are also two male nurses who share their feelings about this vocation) express gratitude for the privilege of making a difference in the lives of those they serve. Although there is plenty of stress on the job and challenges to their patience, most of these nurses go home at night knowing in their hearts that they did something good. They relish the chance to do work that is an art, a science, and an intimate relationship.
This documentary vividly conveys the many different dimensions of nursing including public health, critical care, oncology, midwifery, pediatrics, nurse education, research, and lobbying in Washington D.C. American Nurses Association (ANA) Chief Executive Officer Marla J. Weston commends nurses for their ability to improvise, to solve problems, and to be agents of change. These are character qualities that would make modern day nurses heroes in the eyes of Florence Nightingale.
Special features on the DVD include a featurette on Jonathan and Laurie Reunion — 5 years later; an interview with Marla Weston, CEO, ANA; a featurette on Alayna Davis, RN — Helps Her Patient Get Married; and an interview with director Kathy Douglas, RN.