NMSU Presents Free Screening Of "The American Nurse"

May 20, 2014

  The New Mexico State University School of Nursing and New Mexico Nurses Association (NMNA) District 14 are sponsoring a free screening of “The American Nurse.” The documentary will be shown at 2 p.m. Saturday, May 31, at the Atkinson Recital Hall. 

Admission is free and one continuing education unit is available through the American Nurses Association. The goal of the American Nurse Project is to promote the voice of nurses in the United States through personal stories. In 2012, photographer Carolyn Jones and her team started a trek across the U.S. and recorded the unique experiences of nurses at work. With stories and photos, the documentary hopes to inspire audiences to think about nurses with a newfound appreciation for this essential figure on the front lines of health and healthcare today.

“The positive impact of what nurses do day in and day out to promote wellness, bring healing and comfort, and to offer support to our communities is not always apparent,” said Ruth Burkhart, NMSU School of Nursing college assistant professor and NMNA District 14 president. “Nurses are the foot soldiers of a never-ending war against disease, disability, and death, often behind the scenes in hospitals, nursing homes, home health agencies, clinics, correctional facilities, educational institutions and other settings. Though nurses are 3 million strong, the nature of their varied roles does not often place them in the public eye.

“Nurses generally work as a part of a healthcare team,” she said. “The public often sees the outcome of the effort of the team and not that of the individual nurse, and therefore is not aware of what nurses really do, and how much of a difference they really make. ‘The American Nurse’ project captures the essence of nursing, and promotes a realistic view of nursing in a way that has potential to change public perception of the role of the nurse, and the nursing profession.”

Following the film screening, a panel will discuss how nurses can change public perception about nursing and the role of the nurse. Panelists scheduled to appear include Elizabeth Berry, associate director of education for the New Mexico Board of Nursing, Nancy Darbro, executive director of the New Mexico Board of Nursing, Ann DeBooy, chief nursing officer at Memorial Medical Center, Leigh DeRoos, president of the New Mexico Nurses Association, Willa Dixon, chief nursing officer at Memorial Medical Center, Teresa Keller, associate director/assistant dean of the NMSU School of Nursing, Gayle Nash, chief nursing officer at the New Mexico Department of Health, and Jacqueline Ryberg, former NMSU nursing faculty member. 

“It is our goal in showing ‘The American Nurse’ film, and in offering the panel discussion led by community and state nursing leaders after the film, that what nurses do, and who nurses are, will be better understood by the community and lead to greater appreciation for the contribution of the American nurse,” Burkhart said.

For more information on the project, visit the AmericanNurseProject on Facebook or @AmNurseProject on Twitter. 

Information from: NMSU