Carolyn Jones, the writer and director of The American Nurse, used to think that “a nurse was a nurse,” aka they are all alike because she did not realize what a nurse’s job actually entailed. But then, sadly, she got breast cancer. While in and out of the hospital for one treatment or another, Jones got to know her nurse very well. Thus, in 2012, when compiling a coffee table photography book celebrating nurses, she started with her nurse, Joann.
Jones is proud of her book but felt that her itch just was not scratched yet. To that end, the artist embarked on making a documentary following five of the nurses featured in the book. Each of the five nurses specializes in a different form of treatment. The American Nurse starts with Naomi Cross, who works as an obstetrics nurse. She’s there almost every step of the way for pregnant people, and the movie even films a cesarean section taking place for one of her patients.
“…the five nurses specialize in a different form of treatment.”
Tonia Faust runs the hospice program for a prison in Louisiana. She never intended to work there, as when she was growing up, every adult seemed to do so. But, as Faust gets to know these patients, her prejudices about them simply being monsters rotting in prison vanish.
Jason Short never intended to become a nurse. He worked at his dad’s auto mechanic shop and thought he was okay with it. But, eventually, Short found his true calling and became an in-home nurse. He travels tricky Applachian paths that even ambulances cannot traverse to get to his patients, including one elderly man with cancer.
"…it is the perfect time to sing the praises of nurses."