Aging & Gerontology


Alzheimer's Caregiving

Body Image

Brain Disorders


Chronic Illness

Cross-Cultural Care

Death & Dying



Family Issues

Gender & Sexuality


Global Health

Grief & Recovery


Maternal & Child Health

Mental Health & Psychology



Pain Management

Sexual Abuse/Violence

Substance Abuse

Suicide/Self Injury

Women's Health

Contact Fanlight

Join Email List

Requests for
Digital Rights

Follow Us! On...

photo A Series of Three Programs
Ethics Thru Drama
Created by Helen Emmott, RN, and Julie Russell, RN
A Take Ten, Inc., production by Linda Haskins

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.

54 minutes
© 2004
Purchase $248 DVD
Order No. QA-802
ISBN (DVD) 1-57295-802-2
close captioned

"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

Awards & Conference Screenings
Chris Award, Columbus International Film & Video Festival

Related Films
Caring at the End of Life — with related study films: This three-part series deals with end-of-life care and decision making in the hospital, through profiles of several severely ill patients and the staff who deal with them.

Pioneers of Hospice: Explores the development of hospice and palliative care, focusing on the legacy of the founders of the modern hospice movement: Dame Cicely Saunders, Florence Wald, the late Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, and Balfour Mount.

Making Every Moment Count: Addresses the complex issues surrounding palliative end-of-life care for children. Psychologist Leora Kuttner profiles five children with life threatening illness, and the families and health professionals who support them.

Worlds Apart: A series on cross-cultural healthcare. These four unique trigger films raise awareness about how cultural barriers affect patient-provider communication and other aspects of care for patients of diverse backgrounds.

Everyday Choices: Through the story of one young visiting nurse and her elderly patient, Gerardo, this challenging documentary explores personal, professional, and ethical dilemmas faced by nurses working in home care and community settings.

More than a Failing Heart: Family members describe examples of the best of end-of-life care, and of the worst, and reveal how competent and compassionate physicians and nurses can change the end-of-life experience.

Grave Words: Blends humor, music and insight in an entertaining primer for physicians and other healthcare providers who need to talk with patients about end-of-life decisions.


Awards & Screenings

Related Films

Study Guide

Web Resources

To rent or purchase this film, please visit the Icarus Films website