The American Nurse

The American Nurse

17 Hopkins Nurses Share Their Wisdom

by Danielle Burcham

IOM Recommendation 2For the fortunate among us, most of life is spent with a body that functions completely normally. In those moments when we’re not so fortunate, however, a nurse can have the influence of a lifetime.

“You have to be that patient advocate, that guiding force to help the patient navigate through this tragedy,” said Johns Hopkins Hospital (JHH) nurse Hershaw Davis, Jr., RN, in a recent interview for The American Nurse Project, a photojournalistic essay of stories from nurses across the United States.

Filmmaker Carolyn Jones interviewed 105 nurses—including 17 Hopkins nurses—to document their accomplishments, daily trials, and thoughts in hospitals, universities, hospice care centers, and other medical facilities across the country. Each nurse had a different story to tell, and a different perspective on the meaning of their work. Hopkins nursing faculty Sharon Kozachik, PhD, RN, said, “When I’m a bedside nurse, I can touch one life at a time, but if I’m a good researcher, I can impact the lives of countless thousands of people.”

In each interview, a common theme of caring and compassion for the patient emerged. “I think there is something very special about a nurse who will hold that patient’s hand and say, ‘I am going to take care of you today,’” said JHH nurse Amy Brown, RN.

The accompanying book, The American Nurse, contains black-and-white photos of 75 of the selected nurses and excerpts from each interview. Featured in the book are JHUSON faculty Patricia Abbott and Sharon Kozachik and JHH nurses Amy Brown, Naomi Cross, Hershaw Davis, Jr., Pam Dodge, Karen Frank, Amanda Owen, Allisyn Pletch, Ranimaria Toledo, Carly Turner, Germaine Williams, and Rhonda Wyskiel. Also interviewed for the project were JHUSON faculty Bryan Hansen and JHH nurses Melissa Mason, Michelle Patch, and Travis Simonetti.

Video clips of all the interviews and a link to The American Nurse are available at

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