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History of Medicine in Motion



Screening the Nurse: The Army Nurse

By rosie.wall, on 7 May 2009


Posted by Rosemary Wall, Anne Marie Rafferty and David Cantor

4 Responses to “Screening the Nurse: The Army Nurse”

  • 1
    Carole.Reeves wrote on 14 May 2009:

    To be honest, I’m not sure why this movie was included since it is not an original piece of work. The female voiceover does little to contextualise it. Am I missing something?
    As a piece of wartime propaganda, did it have American civilian nurses rushing to join the ranks as soldiers’ / army doctors’ handmaidens. In Britain, films like this helped double the number of registered nurses between 1939 (when only 60,000 were registered) and 1951. This was partly because the nursing profession’s repressive culture of obedience was replaced by one of patriotism and duty.
    [Comment moderated by Webpage Administrator, 13:27 15.05.2009]

  • 2
    Rosie.Wall wrote on 15 May 2009:

    Although this is not ‘original’ material, I was greatly assisted by the Medicine in Motion training day to be able to edit and reduce a 15 minute film to one of 4.5 minutes, splicing about ten different scenes together. It appears the text explaining this may be too small to be seen in the YouTube format. I enjoyed attempting to seamlessly edit the film, matching the music, the narration on the film and the visuals. The added voiceover is only meant as an introduction to consider how expansive the role of the army nurse was, enabling the viewer to draw their own conclusions (including hopefully finding some aspects humorous!). However, more contextualisation would of course be possible and this can be added if these films are to be kept on the web. The Medicine in Motion training has been very valuable for our work on history of nursing films as we will now be able to condense longer films into shorter clips, seamlessly picking out the crucial parts for discussion for teaching and for conferences.

  • 3
    Erin.Sullivan wrote on 16 May 2009:

    What interesting film footage! I think you edited the different pieces together very well. I certainly enjoyed hearing about the patriotic role of the nurse and watching her hand out what looked to me to be glasses of milk in the hospital ward…!

    A suggestion: I think the audio introduction was very good but it was competing with the male narrator in the background. I wonder if you might couple your introduction with some still images before the video footage starts, or perhaps use the final sequence of the different close ups on nurses’ faces (with the original audio removed). You could use this as a loosely contextualizing introduction and then start your edited version of the 1930s/40s original footage and voice over.

  • 4
    Mike Stanley-Baker wrote on 23 May 2009:

    Really interesting material! What fun. I liked the point at which you chose the film’s narrative to come in (at 1:02).

    I agree that some further contextualization would have helped – I only understood what the point was once I saw your response to Carole – finding some way of incorporating that into the clip might help it stand alone more effectively. At one level this means actively shaping your audience’s “reading” of the piece – rather than leaving it open. Why do you want us to know about the role of nurses? What does it tell us?

    I was struck by the descriptive/normative element of the narrative – although “the” nurse is described in 3rd person, the flim also normalizes certain expectations and desires of nurses themselves: particularly at 2:26. That sentence encapsulates both the “repressive culture of obedience” and “one of patriotism and duty” that Carole mentions above.

    Re Erin’s point above – you could also tune down the volume on the video track, so the narrative stands out better. I had to work on this quite a bit myself, and not always successfully.

    Thanks for making this – really provides food for thought, and what fun images.

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