While at the emergency department receiving treatment for a minor accident, I couldn’t help but be appreciative of the work nurses do. These healthcare workers are exposed in a high-stress, hectic environment trying to save lives and extending care to numerous people. They spend long hours standing, running around, and making sure people feel safe and cared for. Unfortunately, I lament how Hollywood has failed to give due credit to this hardworking professionals. Films that give appreciation to the nursing profession are very rare.
But more lamentable is how nurses are portrayed in the cinema. Although this has drastically changed over the years, it cannot be denied that in many films, the portrayal of nurses doesn’t provide an accurate characterization of this noble profession. From candy strippers to love interests of doctors to comic relief in a tense hospital scene, depiction of nurses in certain films have, in one way or another, somehow increased the stereotyping of nurses. However, it’s also refreshing to watch a few movies that show nurses as they truly are – heroic, compassionate, and kind.
Here let’s take a look at some of the most memorable portrayals (the good and bad) of nurses in Hollywood films:
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
This Oscar-winning film has brought life to Nurse Ratched, the main antagonist in the 1975 film and a popular metaphor for corrupting influence of authority and power. Played by Louise Fletcher (where she also won an Oscar trophy), Nurse Ratched depicts nurses as cold and heartless tyrants –a rarity.
Nursing profession sans all the modern medical equipment, gadgets, tools, and even the nursing watch reviewed here: https://nightingaleknows.com/best-nursing-watch-reviews/, Prison Nurse gives us a peek at how healthcare looked like back then. This 1932 film shows the story of Judy, a nurse who took a different route by working at a maximum security prison. Judy alongside her colleagues work to manage a typhoid epidemic despite limited resources as well as an unexpected flooding that threatened the prison.
A biopic that showcases the life of the “Lady with the Lamp,” Florence Nightingale is the truest depiction of the life of nurses. Nightingale is the revered nursing leader who revolutionized the profession through her advocacies. Due to her efforts, nursing would never be the same again. Up to this day, her contributions to the nursing field continue to inspire. It’s not surprising to find a lot of nursing schools, books, facilities, and even websites that are inspired by her work. For instance, Nightingale Knows is a site dedicated to reviews about nursing equipment and tools. Similarly, there are also facilities such as the Nightingale Hospital in London that draws inspiration from her.
When a very demanding professor, played by Emma Thompson, was diagnosed with cancer, she was recommended to undergo an aggressive procedure with an uncertain outcome. While being confined in the hospital, Nurse Suzie was tasked to take care of her but she goes extra mile by making everyone know her patient’s last requests.
The English Patient
Before watching this 1996 film, make sure you have a hanky as this will surely make you cry. The romantic drama follows a nurse, a critically burned English-speaking patient, a Sikh sapper in the British Army, and a thief. The characterization of the nurse in this movie lives up to the nobility of the profession. There are a lot of memorable scenes and lines where you can draw up valuable life lessons.
There you have it – five memorable movies about nurses. Did I miss out on a favorite movie of yours?