The American Nurse Image

Sister Stephen’s nursing home helps the patients thereby incorporating animal therapy into their daily routines and healing process. She has also made a deal to have kids come in and help clean the animal pens to help teach them the value of responsibility. In this way, she can serve multiple generations of people in one fell swoop.

Former Army medic Brian McMillion now serves as a nurse to veterans. More accurately, he helps rehabilitate them after the loss of limbs and other severe wounds. He believes in what he’s doing and believes that all veterans can live a normal life after returning home, no matter their circumstances.

“…getting hung up on the technical details is beside the point.”

The American Nurse does not even run 90-minutes, but it packs a lot into a little. Yes, some of the camera work is wobbly and unfocused, and the editing is rough at times. Also, the film follows a very exact pattern, with brief introductions to each nurse and their most current case, then just cutting back and forth between them all. Of course, interviews with patients, family members, and the nurses themselves are interspersed throughout. But, it is all a comfortable, familiar pattern.

But, this is the kind of movie where getting hung up on the technical details is beside the point. The documentary’s virtue lies in the story it’s telling, the heroes whose praises are being sung, and the intimacy with which Jones captures the nurses’ time tending to those in their care. It is powerful, heartbreaking, and touching stuff all the way around. The five nurses are quite engaging personalities, and it is evident to see why Jones chose to focus on them.

The American Nurse arrives at a wild time, both for society globally and me personally. Not too long ago, I was in the hospital for several days after major surgery and had two amazing nurses (one day and one night). My time there was not unpleasant, thanks to them. And now, with hospitals already being overrun, or gearing up to be, it is the perfect time to sing the praises of nurses. Jones and crew do that perfectly in their heartfelt documentary.

The American Nurse (2014)

Directed and Written: Carolyn Jones

Starring: Naomi Cross, Jason Short, Tonia Faust, Sister Stephen, Brian McMillion, Carolyn Jones, etc.

Movie score: 8/10

The American Nurse Image

"…it is the perfect time to sing the praises of nurses."

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