Nursing the Nation – written and performed by Molly Case, a film by Libby Knowles
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Nursing the Nation – written and performed by Molly Case, a film by Libby Knowles


A woman comes in,
too young to bear this; she’s got a disease that will make her miss –
her daughter’s wedding day, her first grandchild being born. How would that feel, to have that all torn
away from you? I can’t answer that question,
it’s not my place to say, but I can tell you what we did for her,
how we helped her get through the day. A cup of tea there and one for all her family,
as they came, throughout the night, what a sight; there were loads of them. To help her fight the awful pain of it,
paying last visits, we wouldn’t let them miss it – farewell from a brother,
last kisses with their mother – holiest love, love like no other. Maybe there’s bad ones,
no doubt that there are, but for this list I’m writing
we don’t want the same tar-brush, crushing our careers before they’ve even started; how could you say this
about people so big-hearted? Who would have thought we’d be having to defend? We don’t do this for our families,
we don’t do this for our friends, but for strangers. Because this is our vocation
and we’re sick and tired of being told we don’t do enough for this nation. So listen to us, hear us goddamn roar;
you say we’re not doing enough? Then we promise we’ll do more. This time, next time,
there’s nothing we can’t handle, even if you bring us down,
show us scandal, scandal, scandal. You remember that man covered in burns head to toe?> “…I don’t think you understand how essential it is to have care in the nursing industry…” I don’t think you do
’cause you were on that TV show: lipgloss-kissed women on daytime TV,
come into our world, see things that we see. One lady, passing, had no relatives to stay.
We sang her to sleep, let angels take her away. Were you there that day when we held her hand? Told her nothing would harm her,
that there was a higher plan. Saw her face
as she remembered a faith she’d once held, watched her breath in the room as she finally exhaled. Why don’t you meet us? Come, shake our hands. Try to fit it in between having tea with your fans. Your hands are so soft and mine are cracked. Why don’t you let us on air?
Let us air the facts. We’ve washed and shrouded people
that we’ve never known, pinned flowers to the sheet
and told them they’re still not alone. Shown families to the faith room
and watched them mourn their dead, then got back to work, bathed patients, made beds. Hindus, Muslims, Jews and Sikhs,
Buddhists and Christians and just people off the street, we’ve cared for them all and we love what we do,
we don’t want a medal, we just want to show you. So listen to us, hear us goddamn roar;
you say we’re not doing enough? Then we promise we’ll do more.

About Bill McCormick

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5 thoughts on “Nursing the Nation – written and performed by Molly Case, a film by Libby Knowles

  1. I'm so over the moon happy to have had the opportunity to produce a film of such a powerful poem written and performed by the incredible Molly Case. Thank you so much @RI_Macey

  2. I started my nurse training in January 1979 at The Nightingale School of Nursing. I am a Nightingale. I, too, am proud to say, I have helped nurse the nation.

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