May 1, 2012

Nursing movie

So the other night I found a classic movie hiding in the free OnDemand section:  Four Girls in White (1939).   It's about student nurses so I was naturally intrigued.  And since nothing else was on I decided to watch it.

It wasn't too bad.  If you haven't seen it, spoilers follow.



Of course, one of the students is in the program strictly to score a well-to-do husband.  First she goes after one of the doctors and may actually have a chance with him...except that she is constantly complaining about how often he's called back to the hospital and how he could be making more money in private practice.  So that relationship ends.  Then she tries to nab the grandson of the hospital founder and may actually have a chance with him...except that he and her sister (who became a nursing student to keep her sister company and so is the second of the four girls) fall in love.  So there's that.

In all of this, she lets a classmate take the fall for when she (hubby-hunter) leaves her assigned patient to try to make time with grandson.  Meanwhile the others have pretty much figured her out so she doesn't have the best rep.  She does redeem herself at the end...sort of.

The third of the girls actually wants to be nurse and has made incredible sacrifices to do so.  She's the one who takes the fall when hubby-hunter abandons her patient and because of that, her vacation is taken away from her and she misses a chance to see her daughter.  Keep in mind that back in the 1930s, student nurses actually moved into the hospital for a few years:  there was no going home at the end of the day.

Anyhow, a patient kills her and everyone resents hubby-hunter because if it wasn't for her antics, the dead nurse could have seen her daughter before she had died.

The fourth girl in white is pretty unremarkable, except that she's fixated on food and abandons the volunteer patient (for the training classes) in traction just because it's lunch.

In short, this is soap-opera fare.  It doesn't do much to advance nursing as a serious profession, of course.  But for a 1939 Code movie, it's all right.

I'm sure that this movie could have some nurses outraged at how nurses are portrayed in it, and if it was filmed and/or set in recent times, I'm sure there definitely would have been fallout.  But keep in mind that this movie is from the 1930s, so nursing--and those who entered the field--is being depicted as what it was back then.  I wasn't alive in the 1930s but I'm sure this was a pretty accurate portrayal.

Work week begins is getting all my homework under control (the 35 Days of Terror are almost over, thank God!) and having a special lunch date with the little one.


Kolohe said...

I like to watch old Perry Mason reruns. I laughed when I saw how nurses were portrayed in one episode when Paul was put in the hospital with a broken leg. Three cute nurses were waiting on him hand and foot.... That's how it is in the real world, isn't it? ;-)

Meriwhen said...

Sure, sure it is ;p