The Johns Hopkins Hospital’s 1.6 million square feet of state-of-the-art technology, sleek architecture, and beeping machines may be lovely, but everyone knows that it’s the nurses who are really the ones making everything run smoothly.
That’s one reason documentarian Carolyn Jones decided to create the American Nurse Project — and to focus on Johns Hopkins, among other medical centers nationwide — so as to “elevate and celebrate nurses in this country by capturing their personal stories.” The project spawned a gorgeous coffee table book telling the stories of 75 nurses through photographic portraits and intimate interviews. Most of us only meet nurses when we’re under their care, Jones points out — but she wanted to get to know more about these people who devote their lives to taking care of other people.
At Johns Hopkins, Jones concentrated on nurses working with cutting-edge technology. But she also found a wide range of interests, stories, specialties, and attitudes. Once you start watching the brief interviews posted on the project’s website, it’s hard to tear yourself away: Allisyn Pletch, a psychiatric nurse talks about eating disorders in Biblical times; Amy Brown, who specializes in gynecological oncology, discusses what it means to be truly present at a patient’s bedside; Hershaw Davis compares working in the emergency room to being a detective.
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