Read The Essay | Go to NLM Digital Collections | Watch on YouTube | Read Transcript

DATE: 1976

LENGTH: 14 min

CATEGORY: Educational & Instructional, Sound, Black & White

DIRECTOR: Barnett Addis

PRODUCER/PUBLISHER: Barnett Addis, Neuropsychiatric Institute, UCLA Center for the Health Sciences


Historian David Cantor looks at five films about nursing produced between the 1940s and 1970s. In the mid-20th century, American nursing leaders produced and deployed the motion picture as a modern tool of education, training, and recruitment. Hundreds of films were made, including informational, newsreel, and training movies for a variety of audiences. In the training film Nurse-Patient Interaction, the camera takes the perspective of a trainee nurse who is presented with a series of people: patients, doctors, co-workers, who speak directly into the camera, challenging, berating, and flirting with the trainee….Read The Essay

About the Director: Barnett Addis made a number of instructional films during his time at the Behavioral Sciences Media Laboratory at UCLA. Other titles include Infantile Autism (1968), Doctor-Patient Interaction (1976) and Suicides (1983).

Warning: These films contain explicit images of disease and intrusive medical treatment. Viewer discretion advised.

Supplementary Materials

Documents for Nurse-Patient Interaction

Guide to Nurse-Patient InteractionA Guide to Nurse-Patient Interaction,” 1976
National Library of Medicine #7801698A

Stills from Nurse-Patient Interaction

Other Films Featured in the Essay “Screening the Nurse: Film, Fear, and Narrative from the 1940s to the 1970s”

In the Collections of the National Library of Medicine

NLM Historical Audiovisuals Collection

A young woman in a Nursing uniform looks concerned.T.B. Nurse Wallace, 1952: A dramatization of the arrival and settling-in of a newly-minted nurse at a tuberculosis sanitarium.

Career, ca.1958: The story of three Native American women attending the U.S. Public Health Service Indian School of Practical Nursing in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

The Nurse Combats Disease, 1962: With the aid of drawings, this film describes the nurse’s role in the prevention of disease, with emphasis on factors that lead to disease transmission and how to interrupt that chain.

NLM Prints & Photographs Collection

A military nurse reading the newspaper to an officer.See thousands of postcards with nursing themes donated to NLM by Michael Zwerdling.

View the related online exhibition Pictures of Nursing: the Zwerdling Postcard Collection.

NLM Rare Book Collection

Tradition and Destiny of the U.S. Army Nurse Corps, ca. 1949 is a detailed, illustrated, 52 page booklet about all aspects of the U.S. Army Nurse Corps.

States regularly issued guides and manuals for public health nurses, such as this Manual for Public Health Nurses, from the state of Iowa in the late 1940s.

Related Resources from the National Library of Medicine

PubMed Central Full-Text Journal Articles

Explore current, full-text journal articles on nursing education.

Florence Nightingale: The Mother of Nursing, 2015

Nursing: A Key to Patient Satisfaction, 2009

The Importance of Nursing Research, 2009

PubMed for Nurses

This brief tutorial, designed specifically for nurses, provides an introduction to searching the biomedical journal literature using PubMed.

Circulating Now: The Blog of the NLM History of Medicine Division

People carry a patient on a cot out of a house, a nurse with an infant follows.
The Lady Who Became a Nurse

The Forgotten Frontier: Nursing Done in Wild Places

How to Become a Nurse and How to Succeed, ca. 1892

Faye Glenn Abdellah: Nurse, Officer, Educator

Nurses on the Cutting Edge

External Resources

National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR) — Est. 1986

The mission of the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR) is to promote and improve the health of individuals, families, communities, and populations. NINR supports and conducts clinical and basic research and research training on health and illness across the lifespan to build the scientific foundation for clinical practice, prevent disease and disability, manage and eliminate symptoms caused by illness, and improve palliative and end-of-life care.

NIH Library Subject Guide: Nursing

This guide provides access to nursing, biomedical, clinical trial, evidence based practice, and research instrument databases; drug and pharmaceutical resources; e-books; patient education resources; and professional societies of special interest to NIH Clinical Center and IC nurses.

Nursing at the NIH Clinical Center

Clinical Research Nursing is nursing practice with a specialty focus on clinical research. It includes care provided to research participants, as well as activities to support protocol implementation, data collection and research participant protection.  In addition to providing and coordinating clinical care, clinical research nurses have a central role in assuring ongoing maintenance of informed consent, integrity of protocol procedures and accuracy of research data collection.

More Medicine on Screen

Posted by:Circulating Now

Share your thoughts...