Distributor:  The Fanlight Collection
Length:  54 minutes
Date:  2005
Genre:  Expository
Language:  English
Grade level: College/Adult/Professional
Color/BW:  Color
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Ethics Thru Drama

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Using drama to teach medical ethics.

Ethics Thru Drama

Every day in the life of a terminally-ill patient presents a host of complex decisions for patients, families, and members of the healthcare team. As medical science and technology continue to evolve, discussions of the ethical aspects of end-of-life care become both more critical and more difficult. Learning to facilitate and participate in these processes is essential for all healthcare providers.

Helen Emmott and Julie Russell are both experienced registered nurses as well as bioethics educators. They have created a powerful series of short, one-character dramas, performed by Russell, which offer nurses, physicians, social workers and other members of the healthcare team invaluable case material for use in thinking about these issues. The cases portrayed in these poignant monologues are similar to those faced by patients, families and healthcare providers every day, in a wide variety of care facilities. They will stimulate hours of ethical discussion. Produced with support from ELNEC, the End of Life Nursing Education Consortium.

Tricia's Story: I'm Not Earth Anymore Tricia, a breast cancer patient and mother of three, confronts difficult moral and spiritual issues as she comes to grips with the fact that her illness is terminal. 18 Minutes

Sheila's Story: A Song Outta Tune Homeless, poor, and HIV positive, Sheila lacks all the social supports, including health insurance, that might help her confront a terminal illness with some kind of dignity. 19 Minutes

Claire's Story: Ethical Issues at the End of Life Claire is a registered nurse but, she says, 'I've learned some things since I was the patient.' When the physician gave her the diagnosis of ovarian cancer, she understood the words, 'but I couldn't hear anything he was saying.' 17 Minutes

Helen Emmott, RN, is a nurse ethicist with experience in adult and pediatric intensive care. She is a program consultant for Midwest Bioethics Center, most recently as the project manager for Caring Conversations, an advance care planning program, and Cultural Diversity and End-of-Life Care. She has also consulted with the Tuskegee National Center for Bioethics, AARP, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, has served on ethics committees for a number of institutions and localities, and offers presentations on bioethics throughout the United States.

Julie Russell, RN, MA, identifies herself as a 'nurse dramatist'. Drawing on her experiences as a registered nurse practicing in a variety of health care settings, Julie researches, writes and performs dramatic monologues and short plays on caregiving and bioethical issues. She has developed more than fifty characters of various ages and socio-cultural backgrounds, and has performed these in thirty-six states and the District of Columbia. Her dramatizations are unique teaching vehicles, putting a human face on important issues and stimulating ethical discussions.

DVD version has both closed-captions and audio description.

'We teach and learn what it means to be healthcare professionals through cases, the sharing of clinical narratives or stories. The most powerful way of teaching and learning illness narratives is through drama, through actual performances of patients' stories.' - William G. Bartholome, pediatrician and bioethicist

'The tapes and acting are magnificent, and the student response was wonderful!' - Dr. Lynda Shand, School of Nursing, College of New Rochelle

'Unforgettable! Russell's performance is inspiring, touching, and thought-provoking. The characterizations hit audience members right between the eyes.' - Beth Ingram, Vice President, Arkansas Hospital Association


** Chris Award, Columbus International Film and Video Festival


Main credits

Russell, Julie (film producer)
Russell, Julie (screenwriter)
Russell, Julie (performer)
Emmott, Helen (film producer)
Haskins, Helena Elizabeth Maria (film producer)
Haskins, Helena Elizabeth Maria (film director)

Distributor credits

Created by Helen Emmott, RN, and Julie Russell, RN A Take Ten, Inc., production by Linda Haskins

Docuseek2 subjects

Nursing Education
Death and Dying
Longterm Care
Medical Ethics

Distributor subjects

Captioned Films
Death and Dying
Ethical Dilemmas
Fanlight Collection
Issues and Ethics


film; video; documentary; drama; dramatic; monologue; spiritual issues; spirituality; religion; religious; beneficence; maleficence; justice; proportionate means; disproportionate means; ordinary care; extraordinary care; advance directive; living will; durable power of attorney; advance care directive; dilemma; truth-telling; promise-keeping; narrative ethics; ethic of care; virtue ethic; utilitarianism; stakeholder; aggressive care; comfort care; palliative care; palliation; pain management; futility; health care; healthcare; illness; disease; patient; nurse; nursing; doctor; medicine; physician; hospital; ethics; ethical; moral; morality; grieving ; grief; loss; recovery; bereavement; coping; death; dying; end-of-life care; end of life; terminal illness; caregiver; caregiving; "Ethics Thru Drama"; The Fanlight Collection

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