A look at the lives of American nurses


Jason Short, a former auto mechanic, became a home health nurse in Appalachia after a motorcycle accident taught him what it was like to be helpless and in need of care. (Carolyn Jones)

The lives and work of five very different nurses are featured in a documentary that will premiere May 7 at the AFI Silver in Silver Spring.

Photographer and filmmaker Carolyn Jones created “The American Nurse” after publishing a coffee-table book on the subject two years ago, and the film builds on the same mix of powerful images with words of men and women whose lives are devoted to healing.

Over the film’s 78 minutes, viewers see Jason Short, an auto mechanic, describe how a bad motorcycle accident taught him what it was like to be helpless and in need of care; he is now a home health nurse in Appalachia. They follow Tonia Faust into her job at the Louisiana State Penitentiary: “People ask me how I can take care of people who have committed such horrific crimes,” she says.

“But when I’m at their bedside, I’m taking care of just another human being.”

The other nurses are a nun who runs a nursing home in Wisconsin, a labor and delivery nurse at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore and a former Army medic who rehabilitates wounded soldiers in San Diego.

After its premiere before an invited audience, the movie will be distributed nationwide through theaters and health-care centers. To see a trailer and a schedule of screenings — including one May 8 at the Digiplex Churchville in Bel Air, Md. — go to www.AmericanNurseProject.com.

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